Thursday, October 19, 2006

Advising Season Opens

It's advising season and students have been coming to me for advice.

I give it to them.

This is actually my favorite part of the job. I like students a deal better one on one than I do in large masses, so I like the chance to talk with them in my office, and to go over their progress with them, and here in the office, uncircumscribed by their peers, they are more who they are and less a construct of who they feel they ought to be, so I enjoy them more, too. And I like the mentoring bit. No, I say. Don't do that. Well, I say, have you thought of this? The things I wish someone had said to me, when I was nineteen.

On the other hand:

You know what I have had my bait of?

Students who wander into my office and inform me, as if I might sympathize, that they hate to read.

Pup, I say to them, you might consider that you are in the wrong field, then.

They stare at me in surprise.

No, they say, I want to do English. I just don't like to read.

Right: as Lydgate tells Rosamund, that's like saying you love to eat peaches, you just hate how they taste.

This field is nothing but reading. We don't make collages here. We don't drink tea and spent whole afternoons in garrets constructing perfect sonnets. We don't, no matter what Wordworth might have led you to believe, spend much of our time wandering the woods and fields admiring daffodils. We read. From time to time we write, yes. But then we read a lot more. And we do a truckload of committee work. And we read some more. And then we read some more. And then we advise students. And read some more. And teach. And read some more. And here is the truth: we like this. We like to read this much. We went into this profession because it was the only job we could find that would pay us to read this much.

So if you don't like to read this much, pup? If you wouldn't rather read than eat? (Heh -- I read while eating. I read while bathing. I read while I do laundry. I'm reading right now.) Do something else. Anything else.



CB said...

send them to the rhetoric ppl....they don't read, much anyway, but they write.

zelda1 said...

How about Math? Yes, math people don't have to read. It is sad, I see it a lot, kids coming to school and not wanting to take a class where they actually might have to read or write anything. I love to read and always have loved it. My favorite books wear out from me reading and rereading them and when I find a new favorite book, it is placed with great care on the shelf with my other favorites. Like my blogs that I read on a daily basis and the ones that I cyber fly to and look for new posts and am sorely sad when they haven't updated, like here and Jo(e) and waiterrant, which, by the way, you need to go check out.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from college with a degree in English. I took rhetoric/linguistics/Chaucer (B.S. route) because I didn't want to have to read "Vanity Fair" (B.A. route). It isn't that I don't like to read; I just don't have an insatiable thing for fiction. I read it sometimes. "In Cold Blood" had me from word one to the end without a stop. (Okay, flawed example.) I love to read about how to grow roses, what Eleanor of Acquitaine's life was like, and how guitars are built. Fiction isn't the whole "reading" enchilada. It's just fiction. Yes, send your English major wannabes who "don't like to read" over to the rhetoric people.