I’m in your seminar, learning to listen.

I want to apologize in advance to all of Tuesday’s speakers; I’m piss-poor with names and so I made no effort whatsoever to remember yours.

About two hundred people from the I.T. were bussed down a country hotel on Tuesday for a symposium training all of this year’s new class representatives. Our host, Castle Dargan, is a manor house-turned-golf resort located about twelve kilometres from Sligo as the wolf runs (a bit less than that as the crow files, if you want to be pedantic).

Eh. Anyway.

We were asked to fill out name tags on our way in the door; I managed to successfully confuse and/or frighten several people by writing “John Smith” on my tag and cheerfully introducing myself as Mark..

There was an opening icebreaker and then a tea break. Ice was broken and good cheer was had by all.

The keynote presentation from the president of the U.S.I. featured excerpted video interviews with contemporary political figures who wet their feet in the mild(er) waters of student concerns. This honestly made me uncomfortable: I stepped forward as a class rep out of marginal obligation toward my class, and spur of the moment impulsiveness. I really didn’t sign up for that. For politicking. For really, getting involved in the student moment any more than the needs of my class remands. Do not want.

I am not whining, however – far from it! The morning session was highly informative. The speakers went to great lengths to inform us about current student concerns, and how ongoing developments might affect all of us in the coming year.

The afternoon session was dedicated to improving our public speaking…by remaining passively seated and letting somebody else talk. The four-minute interlude for blatant heart-string jerking was a bloody aggravation. A Mother’s Journey is an unspeakably moving and heart-rending series, but did you really have to fucking dump it on us during a presentation on public speaking? Really? Did you?

And then everyone under the age of 25 promptly got completely shitfaced. That made me feel oh so old on the bus back into Sligo; most of the people on it were aged gaffers like me.

In conclusion, the day was a bit of a waste. Why? I sat in a chair for six hours and listened to essentially faceless people talk. I could have learned more through workshops held on campus. The day was a bloody start-of-term junket (although I can’t complain about that).

That was my Tuesday.

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