Observations from helping my daughter move into her student apartment:
- Why do people rush to buy milk and eggs before a storm that’s predicted to wipe out your power: do people in the Northeast regularly plan hurricane parties with eggnog funneling?
- Electronic locks on summer storage spaces (tied to student IDs) removes significant friction out of accessing stuff. It doesn’t remove the risk to middle-aged backs, but it removes a significant amount of time that would otherwise require someone to supervise the space or someone to give out keys.
- Thank you, college facilities folks, for letting students pick up keys until midnight the evening we needed it. See friction, reduction of, above.
- I guess I should appreciate the advice, dear fellow parent, but being a parent to me means helping out, not taking over. She’s 19. (Personally, I wish she would take me up on the offer of a small step-ladder, but I recognize few undergraduates die or fail classes from the lack of one.)
- Geekery depends on context. One student meeting a friend in the student apartment area: “Did you read any Russian lit over the summer?” Response: “I read The Master and Margarita.” “Cool.”
- 1970s apartment wiring does not mix well with 2011 electronic equipment. Because the only grounded circuits have the GFCI-protected kitchen outlets and bathroom outlets, guess where the laptops will likely be plugged in for charging? (No, not the bathroom!)
I’m going to pay for this short trip for the rest of the week, but this is parenting as a faculty member; you’re pulled in different directions, sometimes more intensely. In this particular case, helping an adult child in college is much easier than most other parenting duties. I’m exhausted after the trip for reasons more closely related to hurricanes and sleep deprivation than carrying boxes for a few hours.