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#62 September 7, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking, Ramblings.

Fordham University has an interesting way of ensuring that graduate school courses always end up with the same number of class sessions between them. I think of it as the “Twilight Zone” solution: anticipating public holidays, the graduate school calendar designates specific days when classes will follow the schedule of a day when classes were called off. For instance, since Monday was Labor Day, today’s classes would follow a Monday schedule instead to compensate for the missed class day. In short, everyone comes to class pretending Wednesday has become a Monday.

This is made possible because any graduate course meets only once a week, and only from Monday through Thursday. Thus it’s no big deal to substitute days in this manner, and for precisely this reason the academic calendar acquires greater significance than merely informing students of when the add/drop period ends or when finals week falls.

There is, however, an additional advantage to this system: it also means that students who otherwise would miss a “free day”, because they really don’t have class when a public holiday comes around, will still have it coming to them. I can attest to this: I have no classes on Mondays, and since today will follow a Monday schedule, I magically have no classes today.

Gotta love it.

Snippit of conversation I heard between a guy and girl as I was emerging from the subway on my way to class:

Girl: Oh my God! It’s raining! Quick, give me your umbrella. I just had my hair done. Can’t get it wet.

Now before I could roll my eyes and finish muttering to myself “Vanity! Thy Name is Woman!” the guy just had to reply:

Guy: I need it. Don’t want my new shoes to get wet.


Well, in fairness, he did have white sneakers.

Much to my chagrin, my econometric theory course has two recommended (read: required) texts to accompany classes.

This was a minor problem. Textbooks are expensive, and sometimes its inevitable that they’re less helpful than one might expect and end up relatively unused. Before the semester started I weighed my options and decided to invest in the more complicated text, thinking that it would be more helpful. But after the first few pages, with my head swimming, I began to realize that I’d really need that other text as well.

So here I was debating whether to buy an additional textbook or soldier on with what I had (and it should be added that apart from the text I bought, I also brought with me my girlfriend’s old econometrics textbook and have a volume of detailed notes from my previous applied econometrics course). In the end, I caved and decided to just buy it.

The reason is simple: earlier in the day I placed an order on Amazon for a bunch of graphic novels. Logic dictated that if I had no qualms about spending on comics, which are ultimately a diversion, then I shouldn’t be stingy over my studies, which is why I’m here in the first place.

Fine: so maybe it was more guilt than logic. I’m human, too.



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