In class this week, one of my students said, "Being a student here feels like being a passenger in a taxi with a drunk driver." He was not referring to my class, but to the fact that he had signed up for classes in his major, arrived at said classes on the first day only to be told that the program no longer existed. This is a problem for many reasons: first, the president of our college said that "no one has lost their jobs." I had thought this was a semantic truth (at least) because the people who have, in fact, lost their jobs, would not do so until the end of the fiscal year. Not true. Some people have already lost their jobs. Second, as my student pointed out, couldn't they have given the students some warning? Like, at least called them over the break? How many of them can there be if this program is considered "expendable"? Third, he went to talk to his adviser about what he could do so that he wouldn't lose his financial aid, and she had no idea that the program had been eliminated.
Oh. Problematic on so many levels.
But after speaking to this student, who said during our class introductions that "if I wasn't in college I'd be in jail or dead," I thought, no, the passenger in the drunk taxi isn't quite right...because the student isn't just paying, he's participating. He wants to participate. He showed up on the first day! He's already figured out a school to transfer to. He's alert.
The only analogy I could think of was being on the back of a bicycle built for two, when the person in front is steering, not telling you where you're going. Then, the person in front suddenly stops, gets off, and says "I'm done. I will go no further." Sure, chances are you could maybe find a random stranger to help you out, maybe pedal home with you, but haven't they just left you in a shitty situation? What are you supposed to do with this bicycle built for two when you're only one person? Only one person who, maybe, only recently started bicycling in the first place.
I know. You can find someone to teach you how to ride this tandem bicycle alone. Only that "teacher" will be far away, and you'll need a computer and/or cell phone, and you'll actually have to do all your riding by yourself with no direct feedback from this "solo tandem bicycling" expert. Oh, you don't have a computer or a cell phone? You want an actual teacher? Sorry. We can no longer help you.