South Park Self

speaks of senseless things

Things I hate about this time of year:
  • The frantic. I had to cancel a weekend away this last weekend, to finish up orientation material and advisor briefing material and annotate the final draft of my masters student's thesis, which she chose this psychological instant to submit. This did, fortunately, mean that I was at home for the very embarrassed daughter of the next-door-neighbour to come and tell me she'd accidentally bumped her 4x4 against the outside water tap on the edge of my property zone, causing a split pipe and cascades of water everywhere. She sorted out and paid for a plumber, and her father patched and painted the wall the following day, so as neighbourly slip-ups go it was managed perfectly. But I'd rather have been on the Breede River.
  • The immutable laws of admin which say that the wages of being deeply organised and disseminating info continuously to students is inevitable scads of email queries in reply to my announcements, at least half of which are asking questions I've answered in a previous announcement. The law of the admin jungle is not to let them know you exist, but I unfortunately don't do much good to students while lurking in a thicket. Lashing my tail. While my eyes glitter in the dark.
  • The bloody weather. It's unbearably hot again, and I am not sleeping very well in my regrettably stuffy house.
  • The looming threat of further student disruptions, which hold out the horrible possibility of disrupted registration, which would screw things up so badly I shudder to contemplate it. We had serious meetings last week about contingency plans in case we have to close campus again. My professional administrative opinion: if it happens we're fucked.

Things about this time of year which are actually OK and consolatory:
  • Early-registering rugby players. They're solid slabs of muscle, which is aesthetically pleasing, and for some reason are always extra-polite. A brief, scurrilous and regrettable exchange between advisors before the rugby players actually arrived this morning attributed this noticeable politeness variously to (a) scrum spirit and fascist coaching, (b) conservative Afrikaans upbringings, (c) concussive damage, and (d) steroids.
  • Meeps of plaintive student gratitude from the ones whose lives I do, in a sort of frenzied whirlwind, manage to sort out.
  • The fact that I'm so flat-out busy from the moment I hit campus that the day goes really fast. As will the next month. It's merciful, really. Humane time-dilation. Sanity-saving.
  • The looming threat of further student disruptions, as if they close campus I can stay at home and work peaceably without my bloody phone ringing off the hook with almost entirely misdirected calls.
We're also on tenterhooks about what exactly will happen when registration proper kicks off... it's accepted that something will, but as to severity and length, well, who knows? It makes for a very edgy start to the year, I agree!

Also, please kick that hot weather out to sea, and don't send it up to the Eastern Cape!
I keep offering to send the hot weather to UK compatriots in return for snow, but alas, no takers. I may have to fire up Skyrim again. It's very cooling, which Fallout's post-apocalyptic desert landscapes signally are not.
My student on the inside says that if a single student is forbidden registration due to financial reasons they will not allow any students to register. While I applaud her community spirit, I disagree with her and her partners' methods. We had a spirited discussion.
Well, we're in trouble, because I've seen possibly twenty or so students in the last few days who cannot access marks or their reg forms because they have outstanding fees. If we allow students in debt to register, we are tottering down the same slope which slid Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu towards effective bankruptcy. I cannot find it in myself to back a protest which is cleaving to an abstracted justice which in practical application will replace uneven access to education with even access to nothing, because they've destroyed it. Fervent youthful fire is commendable and powerful, but are we not educating our students towards any notion of practicalities? aargh!