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University Dances: Book Blitz

Girl, don’t do it; it’s not worth it. Don’t do it… Don’t do it, Cami. Last time was supposed to be it! Don’t…
Paper crinkled under Cami as she shifted on the exam table, facing the cabinet on the wall. It held a box of gloves, a thermometer, an otoscope, and the little disposable thingies that went with it. She exhaled shakily and squeezed her eyes shut. I swear I’m just thinking about stealing the doctor’s glove; I’m not gonna do it. Last time was it… They are good for cleaning. It would be awful if Devin had to bail me out of jail for stealing gloves in a doctor’s office. I’ll get expelled from school and be forced onto the mean streets of the Tenderloin. I’ll have to fight cats for chicken bones and steal cough syrup to stay high.
Cami’s karma was shot to hell based on her last six months of existence. She didn’t want the big man upstairs to send a bolt of lightning down to obliterate her.
She would be good…
Pushing herself up, she strained to hear any footsteps in the hall. The doctor wouldn’t notice a few missing gloves, would she?
Her phone dinged twice with a text message. It was her best friend, Deja. Saved by the bell.
Where are you?? I thought we were getting lunch? Winter and I are in the restaurant.
Cami slapped her forehead. How could she forget? It was their annual back-to-school tradition. Lunch in Japantown and mochi ice cream afterward. A staple in their friendship since freshmen year and even more important since last semester.
I had to meet with my adviser. 🙁 Let’s meet for dinner?
Deja’s reply was instant.
Fine. Take a sneak pic of your adviser. Clark is foine.
Cami hung her head. Why did I lie? Deja and Winter, her best friends, knew about her hospital stint. They visited her every day until they had to go home for summer break, right before she finally received her diagnosis. Cami still couldn’t utter the words chronic disease…
She told herself she would confess to them, but when the moment came, she found herself saying viral infection instead. Each time after that, the lie flowed easier and it became harder and harder for her to backpedal. She told herself lying was for a good reason. Cami was tired of being the one people needed to look after. She was reinventing herself after this setback, presenting herself as independent and poised. Even if it was a façade.
Anxiety churned in her stomach, and she hoped her doctor would come back with the results she wanted. A glance at her phone let her know the time.
12:04 PM.
How long had she been sitting here? Twenty or thirty minutes? It was the first day of the semester, and Cami wasn’t letting it slip through her fingers. It was late August and freezing in San Francisco because of the coastal fog and wind. She tugged at the pink chunky sweater she’d paired with a skirt and combat boots. She pulled her knotless braids over her shoulder, biting her lip with a glance at the door before she pushed herself off the exam table.
“I’m just gonna take one. I’ve been through a lot,” she muttered, justifying the petty theft.
Cami plucked a glove from the box and held her breath as if alarms would sound. Once the coast was clear, she took another. Then another. Her hands were full as someone knocked at the door. She squealed, dropping some contraband as she darted across the room and shoved the gloves into her book bag, and plopped her butt back on the exam table, winded from that simple yet covert act.
“Y-yes?”
She tried placing a neutral expression on her face, hoping it didn’t reveal how fast her heart was beating, or her fear that a minor sprint consumed most of her energy.
The door opened, and her doctor’s head appeared. “Camille?”
“Dr. Aguilar.”
The last time Cami was in a hospital, besides her own illness, she found out her father had died. Of course, she didn’t remember this. She had been a toddler; her mother and brother recounted the story solemnly to her years later. It was a good enough excuse to avoid hospitals ever since.
Dr. Aguilar almost changed her mind about hospitals. The older woman’s aura of calmness and matronly appearance never failed to put her at ease. Bracelets adorning both arms and rings on all fingers. Plump. Graying hair. She smiled and her eyes went to the blue glove lying on the floor.
“The gloves fell out of the box…” That was a lame excuse.

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They all can’t fit in – normality

This is a fun young adult book with a reverse harem theme as she just can’t decide on which of the males ‘courting’ her, she wants. So difficult to decide I guess… although at least the Professor tries not to get involved with her – serious offence to fraternise sexually with a student you are teaching – and in some unis, any students even when you are not teaching them. You get thrown out.

Add in a sort of school – well they call it a university – but more like a college without degrees but thematic in types of magic, where most people attend at 17 years – normal for the USA, and she is older, and…

So there are the bitchy girls, the in-crowd, the young guys who are top of the ‘leader’ board with competition for their attention and jealousy – you get the idea.

I really like the idea that someone thinks it makes him look like a Professor because he wears a ‘vest’. I assume one like the one below or with buttons. Personally, having worked in a number of British universities and having known Canadian, American, Spanish and other nationalities of Professors well, I have never ever met a Professor wearing one….

mens sweater vest - They all can't fit in - normality

Do I want to read more of these – it being book 1 of a series? No, but not quite my scene even if fun and should appeal to those who like this trope variant.

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Is tenure worth a murder?

Written by an academic we can really felt drawn into the American way of university life.

To a British lecturer in a British university that is not Oxbridge, this way of life seems very remote from my own experience.

To begin with. This whole notion of tenure. Which I have commented on in the past. It is true that you often have to work part-time or on a temporary contract for the first year or two but then a permanent  position is usually offered assuming that you have 1. A PhD; 2. Scholarly articles published in ‘good’ journals; and 3. A teaching qualification.  So quite a lot of hoops to go through but nothing like the politics of a US university as indicated in this story.

In the university in the story, it required some 6-7 years with that university with a yearly evaluation to be passed at an excellent grade, before you could be considered for a tenured post.  The annual review includes a faculty vote as well as consideration of your research output and course evaluations. This all sounds very stressful to me and I doubt if this had been the case for me, that I would have wanted to be an academic…

I do however, get the issue of course proposals as discussed in the story. I myself proposed a number of modules and even degrees, that never happened because the Dean at that time deemed them not applicable to our current programmes. And that was very frustrating. And even when we had full degrees prepared it was difficult to get them through validation if internal politics was involved.

And then there are the research grant proposals and applications that far outnumber those actually granted. In fact in the US it is usually easier to obtain such monies than it is here in the UK – and this applies to the charity work I am undertaking now too… lots of effort but little reward on such grants!

Tenure is so difficult to obtain because once achieved you have usually no set retirement age and it is very difficult to sack you.  However, the reality is now very similar in the UK, as we no longer have a set retirement age – as long as your teaching is still required, you can continue working. You can be full-time, or as I did, go part-time, but as a fraction of my full-time contract and thus with all the rights of that contract.

And then there is how they are paid. Not saying that British academics are paid well in universities because they are not. They have had very few pay increases in the past years and are well behind what they should be paid for their qualifications and the time spent on training but at least in the UK they have 6 weeks paid holiday per year – if they can manage to take it – which I never did but that is another story – we also get paid sick leave and are paid during teaching breaks as we are expected to undertake research, paper writing, various academic tasks including marking, attending committees and so on – so we are paid during the long summer break(!); and also don’t forget the free medical care from the NHS…

So.

Overall, I found this an accurate if rather intense and exaggerated story of academic rivalries and internal politics.

But truthfully, the only murder in any of the universities I have worked at was when a student stalked a lecturer and eventually killed her. No murder for internal rivalries and jealousy!

Well written and keeps you guessing. Especially interesting if you are an academic or something about the life of course, but not a requirement to read this as all is explained in enough detail for you to understand the situation.

I received this free book in exchange for an honest review

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