Friday, 3 April 2009

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

First of all, no news on the work front except that unknown number of voluntary redundancies have been agreed. Any news on compulsory redundancies will have to wait till after Easter. Although I am most unlikely to be affected there is a general atmosphere of unease around that no one cares for.

Anyway, today at 4:30 was the deadline for my students to submit their coursework. Most of them had known about the coursework for nine months and sadly a large number left it to the last possible minute. Oddly enough most of the worst offenders were on Facebook which I happened to glance at last night. Let me list you some of their comments. I have removed names (to protect the guilty) and in one or two cases slightly sanitised the language.

A: is sweets....cafeine tablets....just anything too keep me awake!!! roll on the all nighter.....who's with me???

B: I am... but without all those caffine things lol... think u'll race me at finishing the coursework ???

C: i'm goin to get it done even if i have to stay up ALL night and have literally no sleep... u think u'll get urs done 2nite? Xxx

D: i've only just finished the methodology thing... i have like everything left to do lol... oh well as long as they're done i suppose :) going to be a long night!!! Xxx

E: quater to five i went to bed... not the best idea in the world seein as its still not done! 3 hours now :O:O:O xxx

F: For those of us who are in the worst mess of our lives... DEADLINE TOMRROW PEOPLE!!

G: im not sleeping 2nite. :| i had a lil kip in the afternoon so ill be awake thru the night hahaha.


(And there is always the self righteous one: J wrote ‘I am so pleased I started my geology coursework early and only have spellchecking to do :)’)

Now as it happened I also checked the Blog of one Samuel Pepys yesterday. For those who don't know who he was or need reminding let me cite the introduction to his Wikipedia entry: “Samuel Pepys (23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his diary. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration, to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under King James II. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalization of the Royal Navy. The detailed private diary he kept during 1660–1669 was first published in the nineteenth century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London. His surname is usually pronounced /'pi?ps/, sounded the same as the word peeps.”

I call it his ‘blog’ because some clever soul has realised that the entries can be turned into one. And reading the entry for Saturday 31 March 1666 I came across this paragraph.
All the morning at the office busy. At noon to dinner, and thence to the office and did my business there as soon as I could, and then home and to my accounts, where very late at them, but, Lord! what a deale of do I have to understand any part of them, and in short do what I could, I could not come to any understanding of them, but after I had throughly wearied myself, I was forced to go to bed and leave them much against my will and vowe too, but I hope God will forgive me, for I have sat up these four nights till past twelve at night to master them, but cannot.
Nearly 350 years separate Samuel Pepys from my students but nocturnal desperation unites them. I suppose we may be undergoing some slight physical evolution as a species but we certainly do not seem to be undergoing any mental or spiritual change.