Monday, July 13, 2009

Fuck Don Asher.

Don Asher is a fucktard of the highest order. He's a putative college expert who specializes in helping snowflakes along a bright shiny path to college success. He's published a number of books about college, careers, including the surely stunning Asher's Bible of Executive Resumes, and The Overnight Resume. (Because nothing says success like an overnight resume.)

Anyway, he writes a column for the US Airways magazine and is "widely" published in a variety of ... yada yada yada. He's the education dork at MSN Encarta, and published a piece this weekend called "The 7 Secrets of Highly Successful Students."

It's a tour de farce. It's full of such howlers that I just thought your readers would like to know what some of the current, hot, advice is vis a vis being a successful student.
  • A savvy student wants to earn as many A's as possible, as few B's as possible, and avoid C's at all costs. So how do you engineer your GPA? Class-shop at the beginning of each semester. Sign up for more classes than you can possibly take, and drop boring or difficult professors sometime in the first two weeks. (It won't show up on your transcripts.) If you get a bad exam or quiz score, ask the professor what you can do to earn extra credit.
  • Professors are people, too. They worry about being liked, whether they're gaining a few pounds and whether or not they're good at their jobs. So go visit them. Ask them for clarification of some point they made in class. Try out your paper or lab ideas on them to see if you're headed in the right direction. Ask them the best way to study for the exams. It's probably not a great idea to focus on grades only, as in "What do I need to do to earn an A in your class?" Get your professors to help you be a better student. And maybe ask, "Have you lost a little weight?"
  • Study abroad in the sophomore year, not the junior. The junior year is a time to concentrate on your major and get the most out of your department. If you're abroad, you can't do that. Plus, some students get distracted by drinking in Naples, or that cute French guy or gal in Nice, and blow their GPA during the study abroad. Grad schools and employers care most about your GPA in the final two years of college, and if you go abroad in the junior year those grades are prominent. Finally -- and don't tell anyone -- but most sophomores aren't 21 yet. In most of the world, the drinking age, official and unofficial, is much younger than that. So...
There's other shit that's actually not bad advice, but the inclusion of the elements above just makes me crazy, especially the notion that students SHOULD try to game the system, game the proffie, flatter us poor dolts with comments about lost weight.

I'd like to find Don Asher and beat him with a bag of oranges. I'd like to put a pencil in his ear and watch it shoot out the other side.

To those of us who know better, he might seem a bit harmless, but it feels to me that more and more of this insanity is sold to students and parents, and soon the tipping point will come and college will truly just become this rubber-stamp-feel-good-handjob of a joke that so many people seem to think it is already.