• November 1, 2014
November 01, 2014, 3:41:44 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 16
  Print  
Author Topic: Funny things said by non-academics  (Read 98828 times)
almost_done
New member
*
Posts: 27


« on: June 28, 2007, 7:19:50 PM »


I know there's another thread about what we wish our family understood about being in academia, but sometimes it surprises me what other non-academics (mis)understand about the academic life. I find these experiences truly refreshing and humbling and I share them in that spirit rather than to belittle others.

I live in a working class neighborhood and my neighbors never fail to keep me grounded. When I finished my doctorate and told my neighbor that I was getting a new job at a university as a professor, she asked, "Now, is that kind of like being a principal at a high school or do you work for the principal?" 

Said job led to a cross-country move, funded by the new school, so full service movers were hired. When the movers arrived to pack, they came in two vehicles and one vehicle got lost on the way. The packers in the first vehicle were mocking the map-reading skills of the other driver. Making small talk, I commented that map-reading is probably pretty important in their jobs. The packer was quick to explain that the other driver wasn't really a professional mover, just a college kid working a summer job. (As if college students aren't really expected to have map-reading skills!).

Anyone else have interesting anecdotes on how non-academics view academia?

Logged
mishy
New member
*
Posts: 37


« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2007, 7:25:58 PM »

Don't get me started.  I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college and the only one to get an advanced degree.  I have explained that my job includes teaching but also research, committee meetings, advising etc., all to no avail.  My family is convinced that I am only "working" when I'm actually in class.  Despite the fact that I am teaching a class this summer (work even by their definition!) they are convinced that I have the "summer off."  Now when they ask me how my summer off is going, my response is "fabulously."
Logged
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 19,592


« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2007, 7:28:42 PM »

When I called moving companies last week to get estimates about my impending move, one of them asked me what I did for a living, and then what field I was in.  I told him, then asked why he wanted to know.  "Books," he said, darkly.  "Always so many &%$# books."

Indeed.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 7:29:13 PM by yellowtractor » Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
dr_stones
We broke a six-pack in the store to get just one
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 5,445

пошлите законоведами пушки и деньг


« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2007, 7:31:47 PM »

They think we control tuition.  I wish . . .
Logged

"History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." Samuel "Steroid Free" Clemens
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 19,592


« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2007, 7:33:18 PM »

Don't get me started.  I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college and the only one to get an advanced degree.  I have explained that my job includes teaching but also research, committee meetings, advising etc., all to no avail.  My family is convinced that I am only "working" when I'm actually in class.  Despite the fact that I am teaching a class this summer (work even by their definition!) they are convinced that I have the "summer off."  Now when they ask me how my summer off is going, my response is "fabulously."

Mishy, here's the "Wish My Family Understood" thread:

http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,39230.0.html

But I think I'll start a new version here on this forum, as it seems an appropriate topic here too.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 7:34:25 PM by yellowtractor » Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
magimax
Magical
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,199

meow


« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2007, 8:09:36 PM »

"So, is that like a *book* you're writing?  Cool."

My next door neighbors are 21 year old kids, really sweet.  The girl and I have gotten to know each other and she's quizzed me about grad school and the diss, etc.  One night her boyfriend came home as we were standing around outside talking, and I asked about his summer Composition class at the local community college (he's working on his auto mechanics diploma).  He said it was OK, just hard to write this last paper and his girlfriend told him that I was in school too, working on a dissertation.  He asked how long that was and I replied that I had written about 150 pages and still had 4 chapters to go.  The girl turned to him and said "kinda makes your 3 page paper seem wimpy, huh?"  :-)
Logged

Нема лоша ракиа, има малко.
ardea
Junior member
**
Posts: 87


« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2007, 8:33:18 PM »

I get more questions about getting free basketball or football tickets for people that controlling tuition. This question is usually closely followed by amazement that I don't attend every game. (I have not been to one yet!)
Logged
malcha
Creepy Lit Critter, Undead Language Lover,
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 8,197

posting live from her FCFU


« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2007, 8:42:54 PM »

My father is an academic.  Totally different field from mine.  When I was in the middle of job market trauma, a friend of mine asked "Well, why don't you ask your father to get you a job at X U.?
Logged

I mean, what's the point of killing a monster if you don't get to loot its corpse afterwards?
bronwyn69
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,084


WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2007, 8:49:09 PM »

A few years ago, my non-academic father-in-law asked me if once I had the PhD, would I work as a court stenographer.

Logged

I'm all, "Up yours with your arugula in March."  
anthroid
hyperdiffusionist wackaloonery!
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 16,512

No happy socks because nobody gets Manitoba.


« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2007, 8:57:22 PM »

My non-academic father lately has taken to asking me what my next Ph.D. will be in.  The last one was so easy, you see...

My non-academic younger brother doesn't understand that the way he raises his kid has an effect later on.  At some holiday a while ago he was talking, with horror, about how much homework his 5th grade daughter had to do.  It was almost an hour's worth!

Yes, I gasped.  Isn't that awful!  Given what I see in my classroom, she ought to be doing at least two hours' worth!!!

He's never mentioned homework again.  I don't know if he thinks I could just call up the principal and make him increase the homework, but I'm not telling him that I can't.
Logged

Am I the only one who even remembers Up with People??
mytiaraisaskew
Yippee! I'm a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,572


« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2007, 9:41:15 PM »

A few years ago, my non-academic father-in-law asked me if once I had the PhD, would I work as a court stenographer.



Um, what?  What got him from PhD to court stenographer?  I'm dying to know what the logic chain was...
Logged

Fear my Righteous Scepter of Wrath!  (with thanks to prof. viola)
vintage
New member
*
Posts: 33


« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2007, 11:18:48 PM »

My grandmother is friends with the mother of a former or current Provost at an Ivy League U (she's a little fuzzy on his current job title).  When I told her that my SO would be going out on the job market this fall, she offered to put him in touch with Provost with the idea that Provost would give him a TT job.  As if it would be so easy!  She means well, but she's been providing me with useless career advice for years, and she's now moved on to my SO.
Logged
tattletale_heart
A not-very-distinguished
Senior member
****
Posts: 271


« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2007, 11:33:55 PM »

My uni has three different campuses in three somewhat far-flung areas - I live in one of those areas, but I happen to teach at the campus that is furthest away because that is where my rather specialized program has its home.  I am constantly asked why I don't just teach at the campus nearest to my house.
Logged

Tag lines are for dorks.
americanist
Senior member
****
Posts: 648


« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2007, 11:44:08 PM »

My sister suggested that her daughter call me when she needed help with a school project (I'm an English professor). My niece apparently rolled her eyes and said, "How would Aunt Amy know anything about English?"
Logged
dismal_sci
Senior member
****
Posts: 563


« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2007, 12:00:37 AM »

My dh also is a professor - he is pretty well known in his field for the study of X.  His dissertation was about X and he has been conducting research on X for almost 20 years.  Yet his parents always ask me, what is he working on?  What does he do?  I say, he studies X.  He writes papers about X.  They always act surprised.

My relatives all think we get free tuition for our children and free season tickets to ball games.  We like to horrify them by talking about how much we pay for parking.  None of our relatives have to pay to park at work!
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 16
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.