Saturday, August 25, 2012

Random Thoughts about Advising

Met my six freshman from the class of 2016 yesterday.  After a week of orientation, I'm a bit brain dead, but here are some random thoughts before I lose them.

1. Love having a freshman fellow at the group meeting.  I know all kinds of things, but I still am not entirely sure about the mechanics of registering, having never done it myself.  This year's fellow, Felix, was terrific. I put him on the spot over and over and he came through.

2. I'm going to say it publicly. Orientation is too long.  It was only day TWO and these students were bored and complaining "there's nothing to do".  They're homesick. They're anxious about taking college courses.  They want to START, not hang around.  IMHO.

3. They always expect that I"m going to tell them what to take at our first one on one meeting.  The number of possibilities is overwhelming.  I know in a few months I"ll be able to look back at these first conversations and go "ah, I should have seen it coming".  Right now, I'm not sure I can predict who is going to struggle this
first semester and who is going to sail through.

4. This year's surprise question?  After telling one of my students that class started at 9 (or 10 or 11), their repeated question was "at night?".  Classes that start at 10  at night????  Oh dear, I don't think college is going to live up to their exotic expectations....

5. And the most surprising observation came during a conversation about living with a roommate.  The observation/question was "how do you take a shower?" Yikes. I can't remember. Walk down the hall in a towel?  When do you take your clothes off?  I'd forgotten all the little, daily anxieties that come with starting college. 

One student sobbed and sobbed with homesickness and anxiety.  Sometimes I don't feel like I'm qualified for this job.  But at least I was someone who could listen on the first full day of college.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Seventy Nine Books in 2011

Here's the list of the books I read in 2011 - seventy nine!  I met and surpassed my goal of reading a book a week.  Of course you will see a strong leaning towards children's literature and thus, shorter books.  I read the Harry Potter series in a big gulp.  I only read a few non fiction books, but they were some of the best I read all year -- Packing for Mars, The No Assholes Rule and Franklin and Eleanor.  I had never read Jane Eyre or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn??  Hans Brinker really isn't about Hans but is about his sister?  National Velvet is very funny and the horse wins.

I don't really know how I chose these books.  I read Lee Child because he was on a list of favorite authors of Bill Clinton.  There were advance copies I picked up at an ALA Conference.  Most of the books were sitting on my own bookshelf.  Friends gave me books.  Some (but not the majority) were from the library.  Some were books for our children's book club at work.   Have to decide what my goal is for 2012.

  1. Hitty by Rachel Field
  2. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel
  3. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern 
  4. Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry
  5. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
  6. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones
  7. When You Were Mine by Elizabeth Noble
  8. Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace
  9. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
  10. The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes
  11. Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace
  12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  13. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
  14. One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell
  15. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  16. Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
  17. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
  18. Belles on Their Toes by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth
  19. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
  20. Instead of a Letter: A Memoir by Diana Hill
  21. Falling Out of Fashion by Karen Yampolsky
  22. Bento Box in the Heartland by Linda Furiya
  23. Rat by Fernanda Eberstadt
  24. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  25. A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym
  26. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
  27. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  28. City of Light by Lauren Belfer
  29. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
  30. Hans Brinker of the Silver Skates by Mary Naples Dodge
  31. The River by Rumer Godden
  32. Indian Captive by Lois Lenski
  33. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
  34. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  35. The Mango Season by Amulya Mauadi
  36. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  37. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  38. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  39. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  40. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  41. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  42. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  43. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
  44. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
  45. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  46. Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  47. The Tall Woman by Wilma Dykeman
  48. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
  49. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  50. Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch by Alice Hegan Rice
  51. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  52. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  53. Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
  54. Dobry by Monica Shannon
  55. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
  56. Love the One You're With by Emily Griffen
  57. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  58. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  59. A Year at the Races by Jane Smiley
  60. Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale Basye
  61. The No Assholes Rule by Robert Sutton
  62. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  63. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg
  64. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  65. Are you Somebody by O'Faolain
  66. Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  67. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  68. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  69. Franklin and Eleanor by Hazel Rowley
  70. The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
  71. The Affair by Lee Child
  72. National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
  73. Wendy and the Lost Boys by Julie Salamon
  74. We Followed Our Hearts to Hollywood by Emily Kimbrough
  75. My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
  76. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspread
  77. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  78. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
  79. All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor