Figuring Out the Beer Drawer

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Image courtesy of Greencolander. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

When I first moved into my apartment, I thought that the fridge–three quarters the size of a normal fridge–has the worst vegetable crisper ever. The presumed crisper drawer was weird and narrow, and was really only suitable for eating a lot of cucumbers and carrots. If it had turned out that I really liked cabbage, I would not have known what to do.

I thought this about that draw for several months. It hadn’t occurred to me that the drawer could be anything else.

Then, a few weeks ago, I bought some beer. I ran into the main frustration that my 3/4 size fridge presents: namely, none of the shelves are really actually tall enough to hold a standard beer bottle. Given that I needed to store 12 of them, this was an issue.

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Professor’s Pen Point

Fickle, High, or Strict: all three = rageI think I was in high school when I learned about the engineer’s/freelancer’s triangle. It’s the old joke about good, fast, and cheap–you can have two of the three but you give up control of the third. It has the distinction of being both funny and true. However, I think there’s an overlooked version of this for professors and their grading: to keep it thematic, I suppose you could call it the professor’s pen point.

You have three options: your grading can be strict, your grading scale can be high, or you can be capricious with what your questions mean. You can be two of the three, but if you pull all three your students will hate you. I know this because a professor who I normally love just managed to move from his typical pairing (strict decisions about what he’ll take and a high grading scale) into the dreaded all-three zone. In a class in which an A is a 94 or above, an A- is a 92-94, and a B+ is an 89-92, he just gave a test where the highest grade in the entire class was a 91. Literally no one got an A. No one got an A-. All of us are annoyed.

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Make Life Easier: Ask a Librarian

Librarians: they're like superheroes in that they save you during finals and have secret lairs. Image courtesy of Flickr user Monika Bargmann. Licensed under CC 2.0 BY-NC-ND.

The school library (or, if you’re at a big school, libraries) are part of almost every college tour. Of course, in the age of digital information, the actual books contained in the library are no longer students’ most important resource at the library–instead, the librarians are.

Though often overlooked and under appreciated, librarians can make a student’s life much easier if they’re asked. Though your school may not have a program as intensive as Drexel’s personal librarian program, where freshmen get their own librarian to show them the research ropes, even the most unassuming librarian has training to help you find out what you need to know. If you’re looking for places to start, try these suggestions:

Instant Message a Librarian – Many universities have their librarians set up on Meebo, a site-nested instant messaging client that became unexpectedly very popular with the librarian community. If your university has a Meebo setup, you can anonymously ask librarians a silly or embarrassing question (where is the science building?), renew a book without going to the library, or ask them to help you when a professor has screwed up putting a book you need on reserve. A smaller number of schools even have a “text a librarian” feature for when you’re away from a browser. If your school doesn’t have either of these services set up, the Alexandrian Public Library, Texas State University Library, and Emory University Library all offer chat widgets that you can use for non-school-specific questions.

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