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Created: February 22, 2002
Latest Update: March 1, 2002

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Advice Column:
for when you're sure you're never going to make it

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, February 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.


On Wednesday we sat down again to talk about your thesis, Berthena. And gracious' sakes, we've hit another snag. I thought you just hadn't written in the last two weeks. But you did. It's just that I didn't get your messages.

Now, out on the edge of technical learning, things do go wrong. But we fix them. We don't give up. I'm sorry that I didn't get your e-mails. I don't yet know why it happened. But when I switch over to my new machine in the next week or so, you can bet that there are going to be more glitches. So, Berthena, you're not alone.

  1. How do you know something is wrong?

    You don't hear from me.

  2. What do you do if you don't hear from me in a couple of days?

    You send the e-mail a second time with an eek! in the subject line.

  3. Still no answer?

    Call the sociology office and ask them to alert me. No, I don't want you all to call me at home. I'll never get the site finished, if you do that. But Betty Melton can call me and let me know that something is wrong.

    Try also sending a message on the listserv. Then others can alert me that something is wrong.

  4. What's the last resort?

    TALK TO ME! Come to my next office hour.

If you'll carefully check for your e-mail, I think you'll find that I respond most of the time, especially when I'm not teaching four classes. That was rather an overload last semester. And if you'll follow these instructions, the problem should be worked out within the week.

Please don't sit and wait for two weeks to hear from me. And this should only be a problem at the very beginning of the semester. Once you know how your e-mail works, it won't be so difficult.

One of the alarming problems with this use of the Internet last semester was that some of you gave up, the way Janet Powell did, and just stopped trying to reach me. Now, in Janet's case that worked out OK because she kept an incredible journal of what she was learning. But keeping a journal is difficult. If you're not used to doing it, you might discover that you weren't too faithful about actually entered all that you did. Then all you can do is wail at me, but I did learn something. I know you did. But especially in a semester when there are many of you, you need to realize that with the number of interpersonal interactions I have in a day, retroactive interference with memory means that I forget some of what you have told me, and sometimes you don't even tell me!