Pepperdine Probz is a weekly look into the #strug of Pepperdine life, an honest place for a heart-to-heart about hammocking in the wind, or to hash out how the Caf’s apples really are that bad. When friends from home just can’t understand why getting sand in your textbooks really is a monumental concern, we’ve got your back. Make sure to tweet #pepperdineprobz with your own lamentations.
There’s a distinct Pepperdine experience of bumping into professors nearly everywhere on campus. The most challenging and confusing incidents are the up-close encounters in the hobbit-hole gym below the Fieldhouse. On-campus housing for both students and professors, mixed with Malibu fitness awareness, creates the perfect storm.
You, hoping to keep the Caf’s mac ‘n’ cheese bar from making your wardrobe less practical, and they, trying to stay in shape for all those standing lectures, guarantees at least one unintentional encounter.
Flopping off the treadmill and running into a professor is hardly an ideal way to start or end the day. Is this the reward you get for working out? Catching one of the dedicated, lap-swimming faculty members on your way to the hot tub is even better. The potential for discomfort increases dramatically. Should I keep my head down and abort “mission: hot tub,” or should I challenge them to a race?
The real struggle lies in management tactics. Many options are presented to the unsuspecting student. It’s an admittedly tempting idea to just ignore the professor — a risky move, considering his or her approval may be contingent upon your greeting. They may feel a bit more willing to overuse that red pen after you intentionally ignore them.
However, the uncomfortable small talk option is hardly a practical alternative. It’s difficult to maintain the friendly Pepperdine demeanor at a time when you frankly just don’t want to see someone with power over you.
Nonetheless, these conversations convey a willingness to try. It says, “Hi, I care about our interactions enough to endure this conversation although I clearly was hoping not to see you here.”
The less vocal route is, of course, a wave. A staple in all unwanted interactions, it nonetheless leaves something to be desired in saving the student-professor relationship.
However, opportunity is born from these small struggles. The sport of professor-watching is rich with opportunity at Pepperdine. How many other students know how much their history professor can bench press, or if their comparative lit teacher can do as many squats as they can?
Take the chance to start associating yourself with excellence so they’ll remember your swimming form next time they grade your papers — one of the many joys of attending a small university.
Remember, to tweet with the hashtag #pepperdineprobz the next time you experience a struggle that only a Pepperdine student would understand.