Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

USC inaugurated its 11th president on Friday. I was mostly worried that parking would be a problem (it wasn't, which maybe had to do with the fact that I got to school at 7:15 a.m.), but I did watch the ceremony from the Ph.D. dungeon. (This had two advantages: I could use the inauguration as background noise while reading about sensemaking in organizations and I didn't expose my hair to the unusual-in-L.A. humidity.) But even while watching it from the relative comfort of a place where somewhere around 80 grad students spend a ridiculous amount of time doing a ridiculous amount of work and eating ridiculously badly, the inauguration left me all warm and fuzzy inside. So, I figured I'd devote some blog space (and time that should be used to write about survey construction) to USC school pride (or some semblance thereof).

  • I learned from the inauguration that probably every USC event should be endured with a drinking game involving the phrase "Fight on" and references to the ancient city of Troy. I imagine this knowledge will come in handy in the future.
  • I am a sucker for a good speech about the importance of education and American opportunity, etc., etc. A good immigrant story helps, too. Nikias's inaugural address did not disappoint.
  • USC has the most international students of any American university, which is a nice statistic that it throws around whenever it can, but I recently learned that USC also has the most fountains of any university in either the U.S. or the world (I don't know which one and I really know how one would actually gather statistics for this). Pride in our fountains culminates with a senior fountain run, in which the seniors race to get wet in each of the fountains. It's apparently incredibly hard to make a good route for this because the maps are never accurate because USC is constantly adding more fountains to stay on top of this having the most fountains thing.
  • Obama clearly likes USC better than Columbia. He is speaking here next week (parking worries intensify) and seems unlikely to speak at Columbia despite the efforts of this group.
  • This is less USC-specific, but I found this quote in a paper I was reading about narratives and storytelling in newsrooms (you know you're jealous of my exciting life) and really liked it, so here it is: "It is important to reflect at this point on my story, the story of an academic researcher. ... I am cast, at various times, as fool (to think that academic research matters to people in newspapers), as villain (associated with one group or perspective, usually management), and sometimes as hero (telling the story that nobody else is willing to tell)."
And with that, I will leave you to go do my schoolwork. Or to bake pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yeah, I want to do that.


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