The experiences I have with students really enrich my life. A week ago, the Student Government sent out a notice stating there was a little known essay contest for students’ work. Since there had not been any submissions for the last few semesters, the pot has been building.
A student that I had not seen or heard from for three years called me the night before the due date at 7:00 pm. She had just read her e-mail and wanted to know if I would read her essay and make corrections. She said it was a stand alone piece from her thesis. I agreed as I imagined what a 120,00 Huf award would mean to any student’s life. At 8:00 pm, she e-mailed the essay, which turned out to be 8 pages long. It took me over an hour to make corrections. I made a clean copy and sent her the corrected version as well as the clean one. She yet had to have it printed out and obtain my signature on it the next day.
Just as she promised, she arrived at my office door and I signed it and wished her the best of luck with the entry. She ran off to submit it. Later that evening, I received an e-mail ‘Thank you’ card as well as two e-mails expressing how appreciative she was for my taking the time to assist her. Then the sad e-mail arrived the next afternoon.
When I arrived home from school the next day, I found an e-mail from this student. “I should have read the fine print. This contest is only open to Hungarian citizens. I should have known I would not be eligible. I never seem to be able to get ahead.” She is from Slovakia. She did however, thank me for taking my time regardless and it helped her focus her writing for the rest of her thesis. She has not seen her advisor yet this semester.
In regard to student thesis writing, this Friday could not come soon enough. March 31st was the magic day this semester as this is the day that the Masters students have to turn in their thesis. I had three advisees this semester and although they all worked diligently, they kept me busy. I had met with each of them at least ten times in person, in addition to phone calls and e-mail exchanged. What they all say is that the reason they requested me is because they knew I would give them the time they needed. Most students complain that they never see their advisor the entire semester, though we are supposed to sign a sheet stating we have met with them at least three times. Tomorrow, they will turn in their finished products, but the defense is still a few months away yet. Feeling like a proud, but nervous parent, it is my belief that each of them has done an exceptional piece of work, but it is yet to be read by another professor with a different point of view.
On a different note, but yet still loosing connected with writing, there are other items to share. Normally, I never write about our bed and breakfast guests, so this is the exception to the rule. In the early part of this semester, a Fulbright Scholar from the U.S. came to Hungary with her husband in tow. They chose to stay with us as B and B guests. Although we had some sense that Dr. Elizabeth Furlong was extraordinary since she was awarded a Fulbright, we really had no idea just how so extraordinary they would be in our lives. Beth and Bob are from Omaha, Nebraska. Both of them have credentials that could fill a volume. Bob is a microbiologist with an incredible number of distinctions to his credit.
In our many discussions, Beth had been talking about pumping out journal articles for professional publications. Her goal is full professorship before she retires. She teaches in the Nursing Faculty. I had shared with her that since I am not on the ‘publish or perish’ track at the university being a foreigner, it has been easy to be lax in not seeking out publication opportunities. The other piece of this was that there is little chance of my getting to read what is in the current literature since the university databases have expired and English resources are minimal elsewhere. As I shared some of the things that I do with my students, Beth made it a point to tell me I needed to publish this information. Then she took it upon herself to get resources for me through her own university. Thanks to her, I am submitting an article on “Educational Culture Shock” to a journal.
Another benefit that came about was that they referred us to some friends who were coming to Budapest. Betsy and Bob, also from Nebraska came to stay as B and B guests. Normally, this would not be something worth mentioning since we have a number of referrals. However, Bob is a Lutheran minister who has a great deal of experience in non-profits. The four of them were staying here and while we were sipping Hungarian wines, I had shared with them my idea of Educators Across Borders. I also explained how I was bamboozled by two attorneys in New Jersey and swindled out of $150.00 for a non-existent non-profit that they were supposedly setting up. Both Beth and minister Bob blurted out a name of a mutual friend who is an attorney that they said would be more than willing to assist. This may get the green light yet.