January 15, 2003

Me and my shadow

A sophomore from my alma mater, Haverford College, is shadowing me around this week for a few days. Haverford and Bryn Mawr College, which share the same career office for students, calls these externships (as opposed to internships, though I don’t understand why), and James is the third externship who’s visited me in the last 5 years. Last year’s extern, Andreja, came during an incredibly dramatic time, shortly after our university Board of Trustees announced it wanted to fire a tenured professor, and she was there for an emergency faculty senate meeting that clearly disapproved of the administration’s efforts.

This year, life is more normal (well, apart from the local union chapter‘s struggles with the administration), so he’s getting the more typical mix of faculty activities at the beginning of the semester. He’s been to both of my classes this week, seen two hours of spine-tingling editing (where’s the antecedent?—yes, we have the next candidate for Reality TV), looked at several research proposals, seen several reviews I’ve written for a refereed journal, watched as I created an on-line quiz, and seen me rush around as I usually do this time of the semester.

Oh, yes, he’s seen the pre-Disastered Office.

Now, was I supposed to encourage him to go to grad school, or not? We’ve talked a bit about what graduate school is like, what academics are like, and he’s asked the logical question: What else can someone who has a degree in European history before 1918 do with a Ph.D.? I suggested the booklet on the subject published by the American Historical Association.

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Posted in Random comments on January 15, 2003 7:47 AM |