Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Bare Essentials

This is my first post for Bathroom Blogfest 2011.  It's kind of weird to admit that I've been taking pictures of bathrooms all year with this in mind... 

Let's start at the beginning with toilet paper.  Is it really too much to ask to have a roll of toilet paper that actually rolls? A roll of toilet paper that doesn't force me to claw like a hamster to pull out a thin, square of paper? These two pictures were taken in a Wegman's (of course) restaurant.  Not only was there free rolling toilet paper, there were extra rolls!  Talk about customer service.

I would like to wash my hands with water. I don't want to wave my hands up and down and side to side in front of a faucet. I want water when I want water.  How many times have I had to simply GIVE UP and use the little bottle of  Purell I've learned to carry with me every where for just these situations. Sigh.

And last but not least, if and when I am successful at getting water, I want to be able to dry my hands on PAPER TOWELS.  I don't want to hot air blowing on my hands. Note I specifically didn't say  hot air *drying* my hands, because it never does.  And the automatic hand dryers have the same flaw as the automatic faucets do; I can never figure out how to wave my hands in such a way as to turn them on.

Next post will include photographs of public bathrooms that exceeded the bare essentials standard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Few Observations on Books

Another fall, another group of freshman.  Here are a few comments about books from the beginning of fall semester.

  • Freshman are clueless as to how to buy their books. It makes sense. They never had to buy their books in high school.  Though you would think an RA or someone would tell them about buying books. (This observation comes from seeing dozens of hysterical comments in the freshman facebook page.)
  • Freshman still buy a lot, maybe even most, of their textbooks from the bookstore. They pretty quickly figure out that it's less expensive to buy them online.  But initially they think they MUST have the textbook for the first day of class. Of course that's not true, and there are many classes where the textbook is rarely used.  By sophomore year, they mostly seem to buy them online.
  • Anecdotally  we seemed to have lots more inquiries at the circulation desk from students asking if we have their textbooks.  Is it because of the downturn in the economy?  Are tour guides telling them we have textbooks?  WE have some, especially in the Carlson Science and Engineering Library, but certainly not all of them.  I wonder if we should pursue them more aggressively?
  • I have one freshman who is renting an online textbook. Who knew???

Thursday, September 01, 2011

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for the Class of 2015.  I took a minute to jot down my impressions of my six freshman advisees and I guess advising in general.  And yes, some of them are contradictory.

1. This is the first group I've ever had who weren't afraid to email a professor or go ask questions at the Advising Fair.  What a huge advantage to already know they need help and can ask for it.

2. And yet, they are overwhelmed by the amount of new information they have to absorb.  What is "R"? Answer: Thursday in the online schedule.

3. Like all my previous classes, they are already thinking about majors (double), minors (lots) and of course, jobs when they graduate.

4.  I periodically read through the 2015 Facebook page.  Where are my classes? How do I know what textbooks to buy?  I forget that in high school, i.e. 2 months ago, all their classes were in one building.  They were given their textbooks.  They worry if they'll have enough time to eat lunch.   Oh yeah, there was a lunch period in high school.

5. They're very excited to be choose classes that let them sleep in past 9 a.m.

 I love their unedited enthusiasm.   Advising definitely keeps me humble.  Every semester I learn some huge thing that I should have known.  I also have a view of the university I never had before.  I'm certainly not the best advisor there is, but I also know I'm not the worst.  As long as they'll have me, I'm going to keep doing it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Undergraduates Have Never Used a Phonebook

My goodness. It's been a long time since I posted anything. This is sort of a cheat because it's really Trina's story not mine.

"We got new phonebooks delivered today. As I was switching the new ones for the old ones I asked the 4 student employees who happened to be around if they had ever used one before. ALL shook their heads, mystified as to why anyone would have a need to. Plus one of them (super smart, going to the Simon School right now) shook her head and admitted she had no idea even how to use one.

A little while later, I was coming upstairs with a 2nd set for me, and a student who is applying for a job saw that my hands were full and offered to help me. When I gave him the white and yellow pages, he asked: “what are these”? He found my answer amusing I think!"

We could start our own "Beloit" list. They probably don't know what a "dial tone" is either...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Video with an iphone app

I took pictures with my iphone as I went through my day last Tuesday of Rush Rhees and Carlson Libraries. Using a free app, animoto, I created this fun "video".

Library Day In the Life

I had every intention of writing at least one blog post for the Library Day In The Life Project but ran out of time. I even had a fantasy at the beginning of the week that I could keep track of what I did all day. Ha Ha! It also turned out that a significant percentage of what I do is confidential and I can’t share the details. So how about some broad comments about what an AD does over a the course of a “typical” week?

  • I go to meetings, a lot of meetings. I have on average four hours of meetings every day, sometimes more. I eat my lunch at my desk almost every day. Most days someone still comes in and talks to me. I don’t know exactly what that says about ME that people are content to watch me shovel food into my mouth….

  • In addition to attending a lot of meeting, I schedule and reschedule meetings. It seems that one of my roles is nothing more than bringing the right people together into a room with a problem to solve.

  • Over a week, I have staff vent anger at me. I have staff cry. I encourage. I cajole. I give candid feedback. I am a cheerleader. I am a problem solver. I organize parties. I write and edit emails, job descriptions, and announcements.

  • I accomplish very little on my own. Almost everything I do involves working with other people. So I never feel I should really take credit for much of anything because I didn’t really do it myself.

And that’s all I can write in a few minutes of unscheduled time!