Saturday, October 14, 2006

Integrative Biology Opening Social

I work in the Integrative Biology department, for those of you who don't know. My job description (when I was hired) was this:

"The Graduate Secretary works with fifty to sixty graduate students, the graduate coordinator, department chair, and other faculty and staff. This position maintains student records and forms and tracks student progress. He/she coordinates with the department secretary in matters relating to graduate student tuition, contracts, and travel. This position also acts as department seminar coordinator, working with faculty to host off-campus seminar speakers and helps to organize three department banquets annually. "

If you add to that: maintains the website, writes articles for MyBYU News, designs new brochures for the department (both undergraduates and graduates), publishes newsletters, gives computer help to anyone who happens to walk into her office, maintains the bulletin board in the hallway, creates new budgets for people to follow, does office allocation, coordinates scholarships for undergrads and graduates, and many other things. And, if you take away: "helps to organize" and fill that in with "organizes with little to no help and/or support," then you'd just about have my position right there.

I feel that I do a lot of things in addition to my "job description" that I was hired for and people keep giving me more things to do. It's kind of frustrating. The department chair will walk into my office and give me something to do. If I start to say something he says something to the effect of, "You're going to ask me how to do this. Well, don't. You figure it out." And then he'll leave, even if what I was going to say was, "Oh, by the way, I've never done this in my life, have no access to these records, and was never trained to do this. This is part of the other secretary's job." It's impossible. He won't listen. He intimidates me so bad! He travels a lot, which I'm kinda grateful for since work is always a lot more calm when he's not there.

Anyway, last night was the Integrative Biology Opening Social. I had planned this for 300 people before I left for Jordan. I arranged the park, had a preliminary list for the food. Had it all prepared with fliers made up and everything. I even had it approved by the Department Chair (the old one, whom I adore!) and the Financial Secretary. Well, I come back from Jordan to a split department. 1/3 of our faculty and students are gone. The BYUGSA activity was scheduled for the same night and the weather was horrible. So, we rescheduled.

Last night was the next available Friday. The department chair said to go for it. So I did. I invited all the undergraduates, the graduates, the faculty, the staff, our student secretaries, the post-docs...and their families. So really, that should have been quite a number of people. I mean with only graduate students and faculty we have about 60--and then with spouses and children, the number should be higher, right?

So I dropped off my count to about 200 when I did the preliminary ordering for the food. I asked for the students to RSVP (the professors generally do that anyway). In total, 7 professors and 5 students RSVP'd. 3 of them yes, the rest no. So, out of 200 people invited, that really is not a very good count to go off of at all.

Andrew and I left to go set up at 4:30. We had a few mishaps. One being that there was no spigot at the park. There was, however, a drinking fountain. Andrew got all creative and made a funnel out of paper cups.

In all, it took us a full hour to set up, so we were done by 5:30. No one was there. The park is one of those places that is hard to find and hard to give directions to, but once you find it you realize that "duh"--it is right there and was totally easy to find all along. I told everyone..."It's right before Reams [a grocery store]. It's on 2230 N, just head west, you'll go over a bridge and you turn right after you're over it." Yeah, so I went out and stood on the corner for like half and hour being a land mark for everyone. And then I sent Andrew out to be the landmark. We eventually just started dinner at around 6:10.

There were about 10 people there.

I phoned my mom and she brought over Kelli, the twins, and Josie. And a few other people trickled in as the night went on, so all in all we had about 30 people there. The people who came had a good time, I think. We played a little game to get to know the faculty. That was pretty fun. I just got a random fact that no one would ever suspect of them and posted them around and had people guess who they were. Only 7 people turned in facts (we need to work on this in our department. It's a big problem! No one turns in anything! No one RSVP's!) but it was still fun. We had things such as:

I once had a set of 7-eleven floor mats stolen by a gang of Hell's Angels bikers.
I was an extra in Footloose and you can see me in 3 or 4 scenes.
I have a BB embedded in my left hand.
I drove a tank for the US Army.
I received two scholarships--one for dance and one for the engineering program.
I play volleyball for the A division.
I lived in Latin America for 7 years as a teenager.

I had no idea was had such a diverse faculty. It was fun to learn these things about the faculty--I was asked to do it again...and try to get more answers from the faculty. I'm in charge of the Christmas party as well, so maybe we'll be repeating this game then.

So, even though the social was kind of a flop (it was Friday the thirteenth) the people who came had a great time and the park was beautiful. I decided that I really like fall. The trees are just so pretty. It still is pretty warm-ish during the day... The only downside is that it leads to winter...yuck. But even that isn't too bad this far south.


  1. I've been to that park! :) And btw, are you sure your job description doesn't have an "other duties as assigned" clause? Mine sure does and boy do they use it! :)

  2. Nope, there is no "other duties as assigned" clause...but they need one. I do virtually everything in this department!