Saturday, January 27, 2007

Playing favourites

I'm going to let you in on three little secrets.

First, professors have favourite students.

Some don't like to talk about it, and some may pretend it isn't true, but its inevitable. Why? Not because we're "human" but because for the most part, professors get into professing because they want to inspire students the way they were inspired once upon a time. Now, I know that for some profs that has long worn off and their trying to get through the days without going crazy -- and not always succeeding. But those ones are in the minority. Professors care about what they're doing and they quite understandably want students to care too. And so when professors see two students, one carefully taking notes, the other staring at the wall, one actually listening, the other drawing cartoons in the margins of a scribbler, one asking intelligent questions and the other running off at every opportunity...well, which one of these students would make YOU feel like you're not wasting your life?

So here's another secret. I don't think that professors having favourites is such a bad thing.

The last secret is the secret to academic success. Find the professors you respect, the ones that really know their stuff, the ones that really care, the ones that really want you to learn. Then be their favourites.

TV Commercial Hall of Shame: New Members

1. Toyota -- for their entire new series of ads that claim there should no longer be a difference between Want and Need. You get the idea? If you want it, you need it. No need for self restraint, moderation, a healthy bank account. Don't spend money on the braces that your kid NEEDS, you WANT a shiny new car and that's just as important. Yes, what you want is now what you need. Toyota ad execs, how do you look at yourselves in the mirror?

2. PharmaChoice -- for their latest "It's like having a pharmacist for your best friend" commercial. In this one, a woman in a restaurant orders a glass of water whereupon her "friend" launches into a whole big speech about how she might have diabetes. If my friend said that I'd throw the water in her smug face. "Diabetes? Are you trying to scare me to death? You're not a doctor!" Pharmacists everywhere must be cringing.

[Note: Earlier I misidentified the company as PharmaSave. Apologies. I don't know what their commericals are like, but they're not these ones.]