Saturday, October 08, 2005

College Day

Last Friday morning I got a call from a high school student who said he wanted to visit our university today. We frequently have prospective students visit, but this one said something about our tour -- which we don't have. I explained that we were an advising office -- which major(s) are you interested in? He thought a moment and said, "Physics." He said that he was coming from a suburb near here and would arrive before 11:30.

At 11:25, this group of four high school students came in -- bouncing off the walls, to boot. "It's our College Day, they let us out for the day, we're supposed to be visiting colleges today!"

Since my office has 3 visitor chairs, and I had files and advising cards on 2 of them, and we weren't anticipating any other student visits before noon, I said, "Why don't I just talk to you out here in the reception room? What would you like to know about our school and physics?"

"Well, what can you do with a degree in physics?"

Perfectly good question, one of the more common ones (especially from the parents), so I went into my usual spiel about majors/careers/grad & professional schools/government/business/industry/teaching/etc. (and also how the job they may get 5 or 6 years from now might not even exist today.)

Then the girl pipes up -- "What time & where is cheerleading practice?" --- which, having been unceremoniously kicked out of pep club in high school, totally threw me for a loop, "Uh," I asked the other advisor, "do you know where cheerleader practice is?"

Two of the other guys are bouncing in and out of the room. A couple of similar questions are asked and answered.

One of the students has been studying the mass of students and faculty walking past our glass doors -- he looks at his buddy and then asks me, "Is there a dress code here?" (at this point I want to say, "Normally suits and ties, but this is casual Friday.")

Then the student who asked the dress code question has another one, "Can we walk around here?"

I know now what I need to do. They really don't want to be here -- they just got released for a day, and they want to have a chance to goof off a bit. Turning to the student who asked the only question pertaining to academics, I ask, "Do you need a letter from me to take back to your teacher or counselor?"

"Yes, but him and her are already out of school. Just him and me need a letter."

I quickly type out a letter and gave the two who weren't "already out of school" (does that mean they've graduated early? . . . or dropped out?) some information about our office and majors. "Well, I hope I see you back here in a year or so."

"Thank you, ma'am!"

(note, I've made it a point not to blog about my students or colleagues, but these aren't my students -- YET!)

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