"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Do you remember this?

Let me tell you, one of THE MOST frustrating things I have encountered over the last couple of years has been the university website. I have ranted and raved and wept and gnashed my teeth and finally succumbed in mute despair to its refusal to be helpful in any way, ever. And don't get me started on the "why don't you just call them and talk to a real person" question. Universities don't have phones, only automated phone systems. And universities don't have real people, either. I strongly suspect the whole bureaucratic end of the institution is staffed by the Burns Harbor Zombies. (Not the profs though. I like the profs I have had so far.)

If it wasn't for a Very Smart Good Samaritan who happened along as I lay on the side of the academic road, bruised and beaten, I truly don't know if I would be finishing up my second course tonight. Hooray for Very Smart Good Samaritans!

This particular VSGS also has a sense of humour, and sent me this cartoon today, which apparently is resonating with poor suckers like me all over the place. Notice the only point of overlap is the full name of the school.

You can read a very serious article about this cartoon here. It explains the cartoon, because zombies don't get humour like this. And then what's really fun is this quote: "Greenfield also said prioritizing user needs based on research is not currently conventional wisdom."

That's right. Prioritizing based on ... wait for it ... RESEARCH ... is not conventional wisdom in a ... wait for it ... wait for it ... UNIVERSITY.


THAT is the sweet sound of vindication, if only in my mind.

(edit: i almost forgot to credit the creator of the cartoon ... their page is right here)


TLC said...

Having been the one trying to locate specific buildings on the website's campus map, all I can say is...I feel your pain!! I ask you, is it really so difficult to create a working 'zoom' feature for your campus map??

Patti said...

NOT TO MENTION ... use the same acronyms for the buildings on the map that are used in all the other literature! I nearly had a heart attack trying to figure out where my first exam was!!! Finally had to phone the admin. assistant for my course - he sympathized and was helpful. Not a zombie. :)

Anonymous said...

So...are university students everywhere going to clip and post this cartoon - everywhere?!?!

'Cuz I think they should.

Or better yet, fill a manila envelope with many many many copies and sent it directly to the U.Pres. Marked "Personal" so his admin asst doesn't 'screen' it right into the round file.

Perhaps do the same to the entire IT dept.

Surely. Surely, someone is interested in being relevant?!?!


Anonymous said...

Ya see, that's the problem with attending universities that have more than one building. That's why I am home schooling myself. I always know where to go for classes, exams and meals and snacks. In fact I am getting ready to print out my first BA degree in Psychology. yay!

Patti said...

meals and snacks being the REALLY important thing, right Anon? ;)

Sheepdog said...

So I wrote a semi-brilliant reply explaining how those problems can actually be contributors to zombie-ism and even included a smart (or maybe not so smart) remark about philosophy students just for fun, but then blogger wouldn't save it.

Okay... maybe it wasn't semi-brilliant but like describing the fish that got away I can get away with saying that because no one actually sees it. It's the post that got away.

Berryvox said...

Ha, I distinctly remember stumbling around the Univ. of Minnesota campus with a map in hand many years ago. Eventually, I had to ask somebody for directions and I've always been a great map-reader.