The Recurrent Crazy Dream Week

dreamstimefree_7308blog.JPGA classroom that seats 30 with hundreds of empty chairs.

A restroom without a single toilet.

A drinking fountain that spews hot water.

Walking to a classroom where I’ve taught every semester for the last eight years, and instead of a door, finding a cement wall.

Forced to teach biology for eight hours when I’m a business professor.

Forced to teach Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations to a classroom of non-english speaking kindergartners, and none of us can leave until I’m successful.

Happy New Year! I started a new college term. Spring semester 2013. Six courses, five preps, a little under one hundred students. The scenarios listed above are some of the dreams I had this week. Happens every semester. Probably stems from previous trauma.

Cue music.

I’m nineteen, living in a college dorm, and I set my alarm one hour early by mistake. Down in the cafeteria, I don’t even notice dozens of mostly empty tables. After coffee and carbs, I’m first to arrive at my first class. That’s not unusual, I’m an overachiever after all. Sitting in my usual spot, center back, I tuck my book bag under my chair, notepad and pencil at the ready. Then I start getting that something isn’t right feeling when bodies fill the seats around me and pull out a strange purple text. Awkwardness is reinforced when “wrong gender professor” settles at the front of the room. And ultimately my doom is sealed when I sit through, too embarrassed to leave, an entire 50 minutes of Intermediate Italian instead of Introduction to Philosophy.

Yeah. So I get these anxiety dreams at the beginning of each semester that go away once I’m settled into the new routine.

Although, I will say as I’ve gotten older, my dreams are increasingly vivid. Must be the B6.

Photograph (c) Gerdien Monique Samsen

First Week of School? Blue Screen of Death…


Every day this week my computer at work greeted me with the ominous message above. The photo doesn’t do it justice, since you might not be able to see such flavorful sentences as “Collecting data for crash dump”, “Initializing disk for crash dump”, and “Beginning dump of physical memory”. Any time you see the word DUMP on your computer screen it’s not a good thing. Seeing the word DUMP half a dozen times, you’ve gone from bad to worse. Lucky for me, rebooting temporarily solves the problem, until this beast of a machine decides to start dumping while I’m working.

Of course this being the first week of a brand new college semester, did not help the situation.


At home, I am blessed to have a Macbook Pro who greets me every day with a heartfelt chime and an eagerness to get the job done. You see even when the PC in my office at school is working, it takes so long to boot up I can go to the copy room and back before I have access to a cursor. Coffee? Sure. Plenty of time.

The Mac? He’s ready, willing and able the moment I pop his lid and press ON . . . and I love him for it.

Now if someone could invent a remote start for the PC (like some folks have for their cars) so it’s all warmed up by the time I climb two flights of stairs… Or maybe the rest of the world, including my college, could just switch over to Apple computers and we could stop this nonsense.

Photo by Karin Blaski 8/20/12

Top Five Ways to Suck Up to Your Professor, #1


Here it is…the number one way you can suck up to your professor…


If you come into the classroom with the attitude “I can’t,” I can guarantee “you won’t.” Your attitude has built a brick wall around your brain. I’ve banged up against student brick walls enough to know once you’ve built them there’s not a thing I can say or do that will tear them down– you have to do that yourself.

“I hate this.” “This is too hard.” “Is there math in this, I’m no good at math.” “I won’t ever be able to figure this out.” Each statement places another brick.

Even the statements “I’ll try,” or “I’ll do my best,” can be self-defeating; you’re accepting failure as an option before you’ve even begun. As long as you did your best, well then failing is okay, you tried, right?

No. Wrong. I sure don’t want my doctor coming to me and telling me she tried, I want her to do. And I don’t want the engineer who designed the bridge that I cross over every day to tell me he did his best, I want a bridge I can trust. Even Gladys, the super sweet woman at the McDonald’s where I get an occasional coffee doesn’t tell me to try and have a nice day, she tells me to have one and she doesn’t try to hand me my coffee either, she does it. Even Yoda knows this, “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

Choose your attitude: “I will succeed,” then build an incremental plan with plenty of wins a long the way. For example, “I’m going to figure XYZ out and I’m not going to give up until I do. If I have to ask my teacher to explain it to me a dozen different ways, I will. If I have to put in ten extra hours a week practicing, I will. If I have to get extra help from a tutor, I will. I will get the job done, because I can!” Now that’s the attitude that makes your professor swoon 🙂

Photo credit © Marek Uliasz