Friday, January 11, 2008

The Student Advocate Advocates A Bit For Herself.

Yes, I work in student advocacy. No, I'm not the "little shit" who comes to your office, trailing a precious little snowflake. At my university, that position is called the Ombudservice, and let me tell you, here, it's the students that get screwed, not the instructors. My university hires high-profile law firms to send their staff to disciplinary hearings, who then proceed to "prosecute" and intimidate students in front of the appeals committee. Students never win these cases, unless, of course, their families are rich, and hire their own lawyers. Needless to say, none of this happens in court, which makes it even more ludicrous. And that is where students' tuition goes!
But back on topic - what I actually do amounts to this:

I go to the same boring university and faculty-level committee meetings that make you all want to stab your eyes out, and I meet with university administrators to advocate for areas that students care about. I currently lobby on things such as increasing the professor-student ratio, creating more study space, rewarding excellent teaching as much as excellent research, incorporating sustainable building practices, and increasing the amount of scholarships going to students with a financial need. I do research to that end - trying to find out what other universities are doing, so that I can suggest it for ours.

Also: I'm female, an immigrant, graduated with distinction, and do not own an iPod. I consistently get reference letters from my professors that involve the words "one of the best students I ever taught." And even though I have 40,000 dollars in student debt, and had a well-paid job in the private sector, I took an 8,000 dollar pay cut to work in student advocacy, because I care about post-secondary education a great deal.

So, please, take your vitriol and shove it. I mean, seriously, why do you think I read and enjoy this blog? Because I'm on the snowflakes' side?

Here's the mantra you need to repeat every morning: For every 2 precious, self-entitled snowflakes that run around with the newest iPods and don't care about your class, there is one student who cares. However, that student doesn't have the time to hang around on campus to aggravate you, because (s)he has to come up with the horrendous tuition and book money somehow, and works two jobs. But that's not even the worst thing: There is also one excellent, motivated student who never applied to university in the first place, because it seemed so ludicrously out of reach.

Those are the ones you should truly get upset about.