Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What Not to Put in Your Tinder Profile

1. If you're only going to post one picture of yourself in your profile, don't put a picture of yourself with your guy friends and then not indicate which one is you. What if I swipe right on your picture, thinking that you are one of your better-looking friends? That would just be awkward.

2. If you're only going to post one picture of yourself in your profile, post a picture of your FACE, not your back, your car, your dog, a blank wall, a package of flushable wipes (some guy really did post that, along with a picture of breath mints, but nothing else in his profile), etc.

3. If you're only going to post one picture of yourself, make sure that the viewer can SEE you, so don't post a picture of yourself standing fifty feet away from the camera.

4. If you post nothing but a picture of two hooks that are intertwined and a profile headline that reads, "Wanna hook up?" I'm DEFINITELY going to swipe left.

5. It's okay to post shirtless pictures of yourself (I guess), if you at least have other pictures of yourself wearing clothes. But I'm not looking for a hookup, so I'm going to swipe left if you post nothing but a picture of your bare chest because that immediately tells me what YOU'RE looking for. I know that a lot of people join Tinder specifically looking for hookups, but I really would like to get to know a guy before he takes his clothes off. (The bare chest makes me think of peacocks showing off their feathers to attract a mate, and the female mates like me are all, "Meh.")

6. I'm also going to swipe left if you write that you're married and looking to have "quiet fun on the side" or if you write that you don't want to meet anyone in real life but are just looking for a chat partner to "spice things up" for you.

7. Don't post a picture of yourself with a woman who's kissing you, has her arms around you, or has her legs in your lap. Like, don't you have any OTHER pictures of yourself?

8. If you're only going to post one picture of yourself, show your whole face, not just the side of it. For some reason, I've seen lots of profiles where the only picture of each guy shows nothing but one side of his face. I don't believe that looks are all that matter. I just want to know what you look like so that if we set up a date, I can find you among all the other guys and not have to say, "Um, could you guys all turn to the left right now so that I can see the side of your face? 'Kay thanks."

9. It's one thing to post a picture of yourself with a cardboard cutout of a celebrity. It's NOT a good idea to post a picture of yourself with a cardboard cutout of Nicki Minaj, cupping her breasts. (I swear I'm not making that one up.)

I joined Tinder a couple days ago. Now that I'm more or less settled in College Town, I'm ready to start dating again. I chose Tinder because years ago, I already tried the other major dating sites: okcupid, eharmony, match.com, chemistry.com, and plentyoffish (on that site, some loser offered to be my "financial benefactor", even though I never said ANYTHING in my profile about wanting money from my dates, which I DON'T).

It seems like Tinder is the big dating app these days, though I've heard that it primarily started out as a hookup app. On the other hand, I know two women from Small Town who met their boyfriends on Tinder, and one of them is still with him, a year later. I figure that I'll give it a shot, at least for a few weeks.

On Tinder, you're shown a bunch of pictures from guys' profiles, and unlike the other dating sites, the guys don't typically write much (or anything) in their profiles. I did write a short bio in my profile (where I also indicated that I was not looking for a hookup), and I always pay more attention if the guy actually makes an effort to write something. You can swipe right if you like someone, or swipe left if you don't. If you and the person you like both swipe right, then Tinder lets you know that you made a match. Then you're left to instant message each other. You can only message people that you match with.

So far, I've gotten twelve matches and exchanged messages with five of them. But I'm not sure yet if they'll lead to anything. As I've learned in the past, just because someone shows interest in you on an online dating site, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get to go on a date with him. Of course, I'll keep you all updated either way. Fingers crossed...

Have any of you ever tried Tinder, or do you know anyone who has?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

No, No, a Thousand Times NO!

Student #1: Can you just tell me exactly what to write on this paper so that I can get an A?

Me: No. You won't learn anything that way.

Student #1: But I'd have an A, so...

Me: I said no.

Student #2: Can you look over my works cited page and tell me if I did it right?

Me: There are some mistakes, so you'll need to revise them.

Student #2: Can't you just tell me how to correct them?

Me: No. I went over citations in class. I showed you how to find the information online, and it's also in the textbook.

Student #2: What if I just e-mail you at least three of my citations, and then I'll just correct the last one myself?

Me: Seriously, just look in the textbook. (rummages around in my bookbag for the bottle of aspirin I always bring to school)

Student #3: Could I set up an appointment with you to discuss my paper?

Me: No, I've already met with you twice to discuss your paper. If I meet with you a third time to discuss that same paper, it'll be like we're writing it together.

Student: But I can't figure it out by myself.

Me: As a student, it's your job to figure some of these things out for yourself. As the teacher, there's only so much I can do.

Student #3: How about I e-mail you my draft, and then you tell me what I should fix?

Me: No. Or as they say in Spain, no!

Meeting with students during my office hours is part of my job. And it is good to meet with students to find out what they're struggling with; it's better I know that now rather than when I'm grading their papers. What's not so good is when I have to set aside twelve (or more) extra office hours (in addition to my regular hours), as I've been doing almost every week since I came here, in order to accommodate all the students who want to meet with me. That means far fewer hours for grading, making lesson plans, research, and my website job, which is why I've had to stay up late almost every night to get all my work done.

At first I thought that I was the problem. I thought that maybe they kept coming to me for help because I wasn't getting through to them in the classroom. But dozens of appointments later (many of them with the same students over and over), I've realized that too many of these students want me to do the majority of the thinking, correcting, and revising for them, and all they have to do is fill in the blanks. I refuse to do that for them because I really want them to learn, and it's frustrating.

I can't keep going on like this. Because of my two jobs, I'm still working months at a time without a day off, and if I keep going at this rate, I'll have a heart attack before I turn forty from all the stress, or maybe just from all the coffee.

I've started being more firm with my students and setting more limits with my office hours. I will continue to be there for my students as much as I can, but I've finally started to realize that it's okay for me to say no sometimes, especially for the sake of my own health and sanity (and also because otherwise, I might start hitting myself with a chalkboard eraser during class and shrieking). I want to have more of a life outside of work, and that won't be possible if I keep saying yes every single time someone tries to get me to do extra work.

What about you? Do people at your job ever try to get you to do more work for their sake? Do you have a hard time saying no to them or in general?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Office Space

In academia, one of the most noticeable distinctions between untenured faculty and tenured professors is that the latter get their own individual offices, whereas untenured faculty have to share offices or don't get any space at all.

At one of the schools where I used to teach, the English Department would often take over my office for various reasons, such as "because we CAN", which is why I often had to meet with students in the cafeteria during my office hours (which all faculty are required to keep every week in order to be available to help students outside of class, regardless of whether or not they actually have an office). Nothing says, "I have arrived" like telling your students to meet you at the table next to the place where they make cheese sticks.

At another school where I used to teach, there was one office with about half a dozen cubicles that dozens of instructors had to share. There was one computer that we were all expected to share as well. One particularly greedy, self-centered instructor hogged the computer all the time, leaving his books and papers there even when he wasn't using it. When I sat down in front of the computer once, he asked, "Are you even doing work for school right now?" I wanted to say, "Why don't you come a little closer and ask me that again?" I was ready to throw down and go all WWE on him, but I might have gotten in trouble for wrestling one of my colleagues, even though he was a jerk. (I wish him a lifetime of broken computers, limited office space, and colleagues who are exactly like him.)

In Small Town, I shared an office with one other teacher, who was rarely there for students outside of class, so I mainly had the office and the computer to myself. It was nice to be able to work in peace and meet with students without hearing people say stuff like, "HEY! Get your OWN French fries!" I also liked that the department laminated my name, along with my title of "Dr." and hung it on the door, which was a nice change from all the other offices where my name was simply written on an index card and taped to the door. When I left Small Town, I took my laminated name plate with me.

In College Town, my "office" is actually a cubicle in a large room full of other cubicles, though at least I get my own desk this time. I texted a picture of it to one of my friends, who remarked that it was an "officle". I decorated it with pictures of my friends, postcards, and colorful office supplies.

One of the things I like best about working in academia is that I don't have to work in an office from 9-5. I like that I can do a lot of my work from home or in coffee shops, where I tell baristas, "Hit me with your best shot...of espresso that is!" and they all look at me blankly, not getting the Pat Benatar reference because they were born when Britney first came on the scene.

But since I am required to have office hours every week, I do have to spend several hours a week in my officle. I like the faculty; they've all been very nice and welcoming to me. But here is a small glimpse of what it's like to share office space with them:

Coworker #1: It is too cold in here. I'm turning off the A/C, okay?
Me: (sweat dripping down my face) Um, could we leave it on, please?
Coworker: OK, but I have to raise it to at least 75 because it is just so darn cold.
Me: (what I'd like to say: But if you're cold, you can put on a sweater. When I'm hot, I can't take off my shirt because then I'd just end up flashing all the undergrads and this is a college campus, not a Girls Gone Wild video.)

Coworker #2: Mm, this sandwich tastes so good.
Me: I bet all those onions make it taste like that. It's very, um, appetizing.

Coworker #3: How are your classes going? Did I tell you what happened in my class? (Launches into 15-minute story)
Me: (knows it would be unethical and illegal to slip a sedative into coworker's coffee, and yet...)

Also, it's not just my fellow faculty members; it's their students (as well as mine) coming in and out of the office to talk about their papers and their classes. There's constant chatter, and it can be a wee bit distracting.

But on the other hand, I keep reminding myself that officle aside, the point is that I have a better job than I did before, with a better salary too, as well as students who don't ask for a one-week extension to write a five page essay (after already being given three weeks to work on it). Sometimes, I walk around campus and feel lucky and glad to be there, especially after the stress I went through this past summer, where I was worried about not finding a job.

I will, however, be buying more coffee and a desk fan. And possibly sedatives.

What about you? What does your office space look like, either at work or at home?