Friday, 6 June 2008

A Short Story

Three years ago I started my job and on the first day I was by myself in the office I had a phone call from a Head of Sixth Form. He sounded a delightful man and he told me about a very talented young pupil of his who, mysteriously, had missed out on a place at University. I was impressed. Dan sounded like just the sort of student we wanted and so I contacted everyone I could think of and got permission to squeeze him into the over-full degree programme.

Dan has not been a model student. He has missed deadlines and failed exams. He is a bright boy but is extraordinarily chaotic. He is also extremely amusing and has entertained me greatly over the past three years. There was one unforgettable day when he clanked into the office wearing yellow Lycra and snow-boarding boots. A lot of our correspondence has been reminders about penalties and meetings with his Year Tutor but he has never held it against me personally. If he had organised himself and been a bit more disciplined about late nights and skiing holidays he could have done very well but instead he has had a great social time at University and he will just scrape by. Probably.

Yesterday, he came into the office and I asked him what he will do after graduation. As far as I can work out, he plans to spend the summer on the beach and the winter on the ski slopes. I have no idea how he will finance this but he was as optimistic as ever. His back up plan is to do a post-graduate course which caused a suppressed but audible groan in the office.

I discovered that his entry in the Yearbook includes the following
Describe Your Time At University:
Alice C. It is not a sentence but it is concise.

Ironically, if I had to describe my last three years it would be:
Dan - start to finish.

because yesterday I was interviewed for a new role in another Department.

And I was thrilled when they phoned to offer me the job.

32 comments:

driftwood said...

congrats on the new job Alice.

kristina said...

Big congratulations on your new job! This is wonderful news. What will you be doing in your new role? Just goes to show you were right to wait...

Anonymous said...

I take it that he ate cowpie and was not too hot at shaving either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desperate_Dan

bluemountainsmary said...

I am so happy for you Alice - lovely news for me to be starting the weekend with.

I knew a couple of boys like Dan when I was at Law School.

They are now incredibly successful!

Fairlie said...

Congratulations on your new job!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new job by the way !

Bound to be a Dan replacement there so you won't feel lost

Joleo said...

Congratulations on the new job!

I was very fond of the secretary in the philosophy office when I did my first degree. She was the human side of academia to me when I was being a bit Dan like, and I've never forgotten it - I'm sure he won't either:)

alice said...

Congrats on seeing them both through!

Dragonfly said...

Congratulations on the new job, Alice.
Worryingly, I have a son who already shows signs of being a Dan-in-waiting! I like his few well-chosen words...

peppermintpatcher said...

Congratulations on your job. I like the sound of Dan - he's here for a good time. He'll get by in this life. Good on you for believing in him.

dottycookie said...

Huge congratulations on the new job - and a chance to make the difference in the lives of a whole new set of students!

MrM said...

Have always been v proud of what MrsM has achieved and look forward to the next stage with interest

blackbird said...

Well done!

And best to Dan.

GMS said...

I wonder if the new job will in any way alter the quality of your photography and /or your prose/poetry.
I hope not, all three are most stimulating and entertaining.

Well done.

gillie said...

Congratulations on your new job. What will you be doing?

Our students are much younger (3-13!) but even now I have one or two who are so laid back as to be horizontal. Oddly enough they are usually choristers as well (we are a choir school, I don't randomly recruit choristers!)

monica said...

great news on the new job!

and what an interesting chap... reminds me of my 2nd child.

Oh dear.

Eleanor said...

Congratulations!!!

RW said...

I, too would like to offer up congratulations!

I always enjoy new beginnings.

Lynn said...

New beginnings -- how fun! Congratulations, Alice. (My mother was a professor in a town near a Colorado ski resort. She weathered a number of Dans in her day...)

MrM said...

64 years ago to the day boys like Dan would have been on the beach in Normandy. Sobering stuff.

Suggest he is better off with the skis

anne bebbington said...

Indeed and thanks to those boys in Normandy he's free to enjoy those skis - well done on the new job MrsM

eurolush said...

A belated congratulations, Alice!

Ali said...

Good stuff Alice - congratulations!

HorseofHistory said...

Splendid! Dr Wallace would like to know if you will be in the Economics Department.

Amy A. said...

Wow. You made a big difference in someone's life and they recognize it. What an honor.

Congratulations on your new position.

Isn't it funny how we all love the Dan's of the world, until we have one of our own. I hope I can love my "Dan" as well as you have loved yours.

BreadBox said...

Congratulations on the job! Are you planning on taking it?
N.

Suse said...

Congratulations on your new job! I work in a university too (and study at another one). Never a dull moment.

Melody said...

Congratulations!! Well done.

MrM said...

PS - as I am sure most people know D-Day was actually a day late having been postponed 24 hours due to the weather.

Probably a bit like some of Dan's essays I fear.

Sarah S. said...

I am so happy for you :)

readersguide said...

Congratulations!

(And I, too, am afraid I have my very own Dan. Hope she meets an Alice.)

Ginnie said...

Oh, boy, I picked a bad time to be away from the blogs - I've missed a lot! Congratulations on your new (not quite so new, now) job! And who is that puppy in the earlier post? Did I miss another addition to the family?