Wasting Hours

Kids in classrooms longing to be free

(A Harvard Professor and Harvard College Student walk into a therapist's office.)

THERAPIST: What brings you in today?

PROFESSOR: Nobody comes to my office hours! I think some students just feel bashful.

THERAPIST: Student, is that true?

STUDENT: Not really. I know a few bashful students, but Harvard isn't a terribly bashful place.


T: Have you attended office hours?

S: No. I guess I just haven't had relevant enough questions. But I invited my favorite Professor to the student-faculty dinner.

T: How did that go?

S: It was awkward, really. The professor I invited was hard to talk to and didn't seem that curious about me.

P: Can I respond? Students seem distant to us, too. They only care about their grades and have no intellectual interest in the material. And given how busy they are, no wonder! Clubs, societies, sports, choirs, orchestras, you name it. They're all doing fifty other things, and class is their last priority.

S: Well, since we're opening up, professors around here make their priorities very clear! Talk about busy! First it's research, grant-writing, and supervising graduate students. After that, they're starting companies and consulting to augment their already generous salaries, appearing on television, and writing books. I pay tuition, and what do I get? Last year's warmed-over lectures and one office hour a week. What a rip.

T: It's clear you're both upset. Let's step back for a minute. Professor, do you feel like there are opportunities to meet students on campus?

P: Definitely! I can eat in the dining halls, attend extracurricular events, join one of the House Senior Common Rooms or even become a House Master. I even heard one professor applied to be a Resident Tutor.

S: (Really? What happened to him?)

P: (Nobody hired him! I think they thought he was a bit crazy.)