First of all, I like my University... she's not the prettiest swan in a lake, but she has wings and can fly (sometimes). However, it is hard not to complain about the problems you see; perhaps in the hope of seeing something change...
Lamenting the Languishing Linguistic Department
Almost all of the University of Louisville's problems revolve around the fact that the University is "hollow" in a way. The outlying, more vocational or research oriented areas (Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, Business) have well rounded curricula. But, each is its own segregated fiefdom (largely due to the fact that the University was indeed created as a series of individual schools that were sloppily integrated). There is little communication between them, even after so many years of pretending to be a part of the same University. What's worse is that the Arts & Sciences department that is supposed to act as the glue binding them is weak and in disrepair. What money there is is being spent on the individual fiefdoms and sports leaving A&S to pick up the scraps, and it shows: the areas that A&S pushes money into are the ones bordering the fiefdoms (the Gen Ed courses required for accreditations and the science courses required).
I'm in the third week of German and reminded of how much I love languages. UofL has a mere handful of linguistic courses; most of which are modern language courses which remain only because of general education accreditation requirements for other degree programs.
Not that I didn't know this going in... when I applied, dead tired of school, I stupidly thought the last thing I wanted was a "pointless" liberal studies degree. Funny how four years later I feel myself sometimes regretting not taking a degree of more diverse disciplines. The focused nature of my current degree has only worn me down. I really can't decide what I want right now. I can fight on and finish out my current degree, or slow down and finally take in some scenery.
Questions I'm asking myself (feel free to skip): What if I wanted to transfer? I heard IU Bloomington has an excellent linguistics program and there is always Georgetown if I wanted to attempt to aim higher than I did the last time I looked at schools. But, do I really want to spend so many more years in school? Would it be worth it? Could I get acceptance? I'll be the first to admit I messed up my GPA... more reason to stick out the current degree, I guess. I could always get more degrees than just the current program, but is an academic life one I want to lead?
For those who haven't heard and need a brief recap: University and State are worried about dormitory safety. Greek Row contains 100+ year old houses (oh no, unsafe). University + State = Cheap. University decides to charge the occupants (us). Large scale renovations are required. New (cheap, crappy, cardboard) dorm is planned as "another possibility" for Greeks. Ceremonial ground-breaking occured for new dorm.
So, currently the new dorm which was "ground-broken" still doesn't even have the preliminary fencing out, and people are still parked in the lots which are supposed to be removed. Meanwhile, we've been told that December 20th is the final deadline for living in the House, so I'm going to have to find new arrangements at some point. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to it. Sure, it might be nicer to live in a nicer place, but I'm going to miss the House, and I'm really not in the mood to talk about finances just yet. I used to think that I could avoid the lows of bad, ugly finances, but all I have left is the shattered delusion.
The University doesn't care. Heck, they are fine with me risking my neck everyday with the 30 minute commute from my parents' east end abode. That's the problem with a private City school turned public University, they keep forgetting that campus is dead when people aren't living there.
Why does it take so long for "your" advisor to do what you ask of him?
Sigh. Enough said, I guess.
What does it take to teach ("TA") a course?
I've started contemplating teaching a computer language course. I'm getting into my fourth year, sure it isn't graduate work, but I've proved I have some sort of stamina. I've got As in all of my computer language courses. I think that I could obviously teach them. I think that I might even enjoy teaching them. Much as I'm not certain about the whole academic life thing, I do think that I wouldn't mind doing some teaching just to give me something to focus on during a normal boring semester. I think that at the very least, I would prefer teaching assistant to research assistant, although who knows I haven't yet tried either.