Sep 9


A new torture that the administration is putting on us students is a “Service Immersion” in the spring, in between our quarters and before spring break.  I’m actually a bit bitter about these immersions: I think they’re a waste of time and effort.  Plus, we are often graded on them by some arbitrary metric that makes no sense.  For example, in Global Immersion, I participated at all the events and wrote some really damn good papers despite my horrific case of antibiotic-resistant strep throat.  I got a B+, while my friend who did everything I did and collaborated on the same papers got an A.

So… bitter.

Then, during a meeting about the new immersions, I asked one of the deans, let’s call him Dean Asshole, if we would be assigned credits and graded for our service immersion.  He said, and I quote: “No, sorry, you don’t get anything out of this immersion. You’ll just have to help people for no reason.” For real.

I don’t get on my high horse very often, but I gave two years of my life in order to serve my country.  And I didn’t do that by killing a bunch of Iraqis.  I helped by building libraries and helping kids speak English and letting people understand the US a little better.  I definitely didn’t stay for 2 years in the third world, shitting in pits and getting food poisoning, in order to get anything out of it for myself.  I liked helping people, especially my kids.  So, f* you, Dean Asshole.

(As an aside, I only abbreviate that word because my mom reads this blog on her work computer.  Hi Mom! Hope the “asshole” and “shit” parts get through the filters!)

All I could get out though was something akin to, “Well, actually, I didn’t want a credit for it.” Which was lame, but has so far kept me from getting in the trouble that my actual response would have warranted.

So… I’m pissed at school.

Then, like a miracle, I connect with an old student of mine from Tashkent.  He was a really good student of mine, and is now in the US.  And he tells me what I’ve always wanted to hear:  that his English is so good because I was his teacher.  That I motivated him to work on his language skills and created a reality for him in which he isn’t afraid to speak even if he might make a mistake.  I made a difference.

I think my heart grew three sizes that day.  Everything is totally worth it because I could make a difference in people’s lives.  As grateful as that student is, I am doubly appreciative for him saying that.

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