August 18, 2011
It’s been a month since I last blogged, and it’s not because of a lack of material. A few days ago I heard a story on the radio about a guy whose job at one of those high-end boutique hotels in the Big Apple is to collect the mobile phone #s of guests sunbathing on its rooftop terrace and send each sun worshipper a text message reminding them to turn over for an even tan! You don’t believe me? Here’s the link to the story so you can hear it with your own ears: The new summer job: The “tanning concierge”
And here’s what I don’t get. If these guests are capable of giving out their mobile numbers to the “tanning concierge,” why can’t they simply set their own alarms for a reminder of when to turn over? Is this so hard to do? Or is this display of laziness a side-effect of our technological age? Are we intentionally relinquishing responsibility for our own actions and decisions? Is it easier to blame our sunburn on the tanning concierge than ourselves for either forgetting to apply a generous layer of SPF30 or perhaps, like yours truly, be genetically inclined to assume the reddish hue of a lobster than the bronze glow of those lucky enough to brown without a burn. Mind you with my salary as an evaluator I’d probably be the “tanning concierge” in this scenario rather than the tannee!
You may be wondering where I’m going with this and I don’t blame you. But this idea of putting the burden of our decision making onto someone else’s shoulders is something I see on a daily basis with our international student applicants. For example, the simple act of filling out the educational history portion on our application seems to strike many as rocket science.
Here’s what the “Academic History” portion of ACEI’s Application form for Foreign Academic Document Evaluation requests: “List ALL educational institutions attended and now attending, beginning with primary school.” This is no different than a college application, yet, applicants seem to hit a wall when they reach this section on our form. Many simply avoid it in its entirety and proceed to the next section. Some ignore the word “ALL” and include only one institution, skipping their entire previous academic history. It’s as though they were born and skipped 28 years and suddenly ended up with a Ph.D. Then there are those who call and ask for help. Fair enough. I explain by reading the text out loud to them and then ask that they break down each school they attended with dates of attendance and so on. If you could hear the heavy sighs and long silences on the other end of the line, you’d think I’m asking them to figure out Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. For Pete’s sake, all I’m asking is for a list of the schools attended.
The average person has attended a grade school, followed by middle and high school, and then college. Unless your parents were part of a witness protection program or some top secret diplomatic mission and relocated frequently, chances are your academic history is not going to be more than 4 lines. So what’s the big deal? Why this reluctance to reflect on the past? Maybe you don’t have fond memories. (I hear you. Neither do I!) Maybe you were bullied or did poorly. But that’s a whole other story and another blog. All we’re asking is that you list the names of the schools you attended so that we, as your friendly and overworked evaluators, can properly assess your academic achievements and recommend the best possible U.S. educational equivalence.
Unlike the “tanning concierge,” as your “evaluating concierge,” figuring out your academic history is something I can’t do for you, no matter how much you want to pay me. This is something you’ve got to figure out yourself.
Ciao for now and until my next blog, I remain
The Frustrated Evaluator