Yes, they tell you to say that. They say, "Don't tell people you went to Harvard, it makes them feel bad." When he first told me they said this I was like, "True, it totally does." But then he explained to me that this kind of thinking is the height of elitism and I was like, Hey, you went to Harvard, what do I know?
Anyway. He went to these Great Schools and now the Great Schools assume he must have become a Great Man. Two years after you've finished your undergrad, for example, Cambridge confers upon you an honourary Master's. Just for having gotten a B.A.
And for being the kind of person who goes to Cambridge.
As soon as you've graduated, they come a-knockin'. You got your GD (Greatness Dust) and now they expect to be repaid with GE (Great Endowments). Joke's on them, in our case. We arrived at my in-laws' place in Wisconsin today and one of these glossy card-stock alumni magazines was sitting on the table. It's from Jesus College, Oxford. It's where Jesus learned to wear robes with panache. Even better, apparently they call each other 'fellow Jesubites'. This is something I'm going to have to whisper into my husband's ear sometime special.
Here are some of the choicest tidbits from the Jesus College Oxford Newsletter.
"This [funding drive]...wasn't easy by any means; Jesus Historians tend to excel in their chosen careers, but do not on the whole tend to pick particularly lucrative occupations...nearly a third of the College's Historians donated to the Appeal, including teachers, family lawyers and those who are retired..."
Oh, pity the poor family lawyers!
"Just before Easter, our Deputy Development Director, Ali James, took a trip across 'The Pond'. ... many miles were covered by plane, train and on foot!"
A jubilee -- in the Canadas!
On St. David's Day Tea: "The sun shone and guests spilled out of the Harper Room and into Front Quad with their cups of tea and cakes."
Oh, how devil-may-care!
Sarah Beynon, DPhil student, writes about her 'Wild Zambian Adventure': "...I'm no stranger to unsavoury odours, but the smell of a rotting hippo carcass was enough to get even my senses screaming! But boy was it worth it -- oozing maggot masses, beautiful metallic green hide beetles chomping on the dehydrated sinew, and huge crickets feasting on unwitting insects not quick enough to scurry away. Quite special if you're an entomologist I assure you!"
Thanks for the assurance, Ms. Beynon. Thank you so very much.
Martin Powell (2004) discusses 'Teach First', which is one of those programmes that tries to get rich, unqualified people to teach poor, unfortunate savages -- I mean, people.
"The relationships built with the students are really what make my day... when you have developed such a strong rapport...that they can appreciate the effect that you are having on their education..."
It's almost like they get to go to Oxford!
"Strong partnerships with many organisations also enable you to develop your leadership skills; for example, through attending a two-year Leadership Development Programme."
Lead, lead, lead.
Into the light.
"At times it can feel that a school is making your week hard; you have had to break up a fight, you are exhausted from teaching six consecutive lessons, a late night due to parents [sic] evening and you still have to mark and plan."
Just like that time you worked the graveyard shift at the shipping yard, but harder.
"There are occasional lows, especially when you are working in such turbulent schools. However these are times when an objective mind is required when applying your leadership skills."
(Side note: From what I know, Leadership Skills is when you boss people around but convince them that you're not. I don't talk to people sitting beside me on the airplane because they're always reading books about Leadership Skills. Also, my baby throws up.)
On Exploration and Adventure: "...a colleague hand-delivered a large expensive-looking envelope embossed with the Buckingham Palace insignia that turned out to contain an invitation to a reception in honour of 'those involved in Exploration and Adventure'. The reception was to be hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in December... How exciting!"
This event was recently re-branded from its former title, 'Colonialism and Douchebaggery'.
There's a section where they profile some graduates of bygone eras. Six former students. All were in Chemsitry. All are men. All are white. And all have worked for/run corporations (lots of oil) and been involved in law enforcement and/or army. These people literally run the world.
Brian Elms (graduated 1953) "...spent 20 years working for three blue chip companies -- Proctor & Gamble,... Mars, working in their vending operation -- and finally United Biscuits, where I was Marketing and Technical Director for their fast food brand Wimpy and had fun developing, for example, the spicy beanburger..."
When I die, I want that on my tombstone: Svea Boyda-Vikander, Veggie Burger Developer.
Pat Tyrrell left Oxford in 1968, "...two years before women were to sweep all before them and become a formal part of College (we had ensured their place as an informal element for years!)..."
Those pesky women. More 'education', less 'objectification'. I even told her I'd pay for the procedure.
(Did you know that I once called out my British friend on some sexist thing he'd said, and he called me an 'alien slut machine'? It was kind of the high point of our friendship).
Finally, Terry Darlington shares an excerpt from his book. Not to be daunted by the conventions of English, he tells us that, "Dr Dobson was the world's greatest expert on entymology, and so good that I almost began to care how words changed over time."
And, also, how ants crawled all over them.