Friday, August 19, 2011

The Culture of Academia

            I am new to the whole college scene. Did you just snort in disbelief? I suppose you have a point. I have 3 college degrees and you know that as soon as I can find a program that I like – and can afford – I’ll be going back to school to earn my PhD. Allow me to clarify. This week has been my first opportunity to view upper level academia from the teacher’s perspective.

            Right now, I am experiencing academic culture shock. The college has a complex social order that I have yet to figure out. It is clear, though, that in the old caste system of India, I would have been considered an “untouchable”. I have the status of the new kid at McDonald’s who is responsible for cleaning the toilets until management hires the next new kid.

            I have had the experience of being the newest hire at McDonald’s who has to keep the restrooms somewhat better than nasty. My new job is actually way better than that. I work with struggling student writers. Helping them makes me feel as if I really make a difference. I like that.

As a tutor, I’m not part of the political maneuvering that goes on all around me all the time. At least for right now, this suits me.  I’m content to watch from the sidelines, a sociologist studying the PhD bears in their natural academic habitat. There has to be some great material to write about there.

Go Grizzlies!