When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
By Walt Whitman
One of my first assignments was to write a 250+ word comment on the Walt Whitman poem, elaborating how this might apply to my graduate school journey. (My entry was a lot more than a mere 250 words!) We had to state an opinion, supported by cited references using APA style (I learned Terubian style years ago…add one more notch to my learning curve) and then post the entire thing on our discussion board for others to comment upon, with a critical eye using APA style, etc. One goal (of many) in this first course is to help the student develop his or her critical thinking skills. I found this a very interesting assignment. Of course it helps that I happen to love Walt Whitman. Not a very critical reason, I know, but ….oh well. Now that I have completed the assignment, however, I have this poem in my head and I can see parallels everywhere I turn.
For instance, gaining access to my “blackboard” (web portal for my courses) was a rather irritating task. Normally, when one is accepted into an online program, a portal is opened for that person to access all course work, instructors, dialogue with fellow students, etc. Initially I did have access to “my” site. However, just before the quarter was scheduled to begin, I lost access to my portal. I tried every route I knew to get into my site, but nothing worked. This is a major catastrophe if one’s entire graduate program is on-line, and the only way to access that program is through one’s own dedicated site. Being the good, conscientious student that I aspire to be, I contacted IT support. “Mitch” was my techie! And Mitch was great, however, try as he might, he couldn’t get me in either. Mitch worked with me on and off for two days, at times spending hours together via the internet. Finally my “case” was booted up to Level 2 for the “even more real pros” to work on. To make a long story short, “they” (I never learned the names of the Level 2 guys or gals) remedied the situation and I was able to access all my coursework. End of story. NOT.
Once I was back into my portal, I sent my profuse thanks to the tech guys and gals for their patience and perseverance in addressing and remedying my problem. I complimented them on the professional and courteous manner in which they addressed me every time we communicated. I even ended by wishing them a good day.
Being the courteous, professional techies that they are, they sent me a message. Essentially, and to paraphrase, the techies stated “we appreciate your gratitude for what we did to help you gain access to your course room. But, since you sent us a ‘thank you,’ we have to open another help-desk ticket. Don’t thank us again.” Whoa….who would have thunk that a simple thank you would cause such a problem. A few hours later, I received another notification from the techies, very official looking, stating that if they received no further communication from me, help-desk would assume the matter (my thanking them) was addressed to my satisfaction. After a sufficient amount of time (allowing for my response, if need be) they would then close this most recent ticket.
I almost sent them a thank you, but then thought better of it. I just let the matter drop, even though it is making me crazy to not thank someone who helped me out a lot. I remembered my first assignment, the Walt Whitman poem, and thought to myself, “the techies need to wander off by themselves ‘in the mystical moist night-air from time to time,’ and look up ‘in perfect silence at the stars.’”