The Narcoleptic Student and the Mysterious Case of the Weightless Words

Is there anything more soothing than the dry tone of your teacher’s voice as you drift off to sleep? Your eyelids lose elasticity, your jaw slackens. And those ear buds! Who knew they could muffle the sound of your classmates’ eager responses with such efficiency? Within seconds, you’ve achieved full REM state and it feels delicious.

Any teacher that tells you they’ve never had a student fall asleep in class is either severely nearsighted or sedated. There are enough sleep-deprived students in college to fill a stadium much less a classroom. Here’s what my air bubble says when the sandman visits my classroom.

“Forget the snoozers. How do I know the ones with their eyes open are actually listening?  From my vantage point looking out at 40 bobbing heads, my words often appear weightless, evaporating before they reach the front row. I need a Horton to hear to my Who.”

Well guess what? It happened this week but it wasn’t a Horton. It was an Omar. Apparently, while the rest of us were using the hours between 10pm and 6am to actually sleep, Omar Tejada was awake and applying a lesson he had learned that day in class. The result? – A website that positions Omar as the first Hispanic writer to succeed in American literature. Write on, Omar!

Let’s help Omar Tejada validate that his midnight inspiration and my weightless words were not a dream. Go to and check out Omar’s short fiction pieces. Then, leave him a comment. When you’re done, you can rest your weary head back down on your desk and catch a few zzzzzz’s.

A Valentine’s Day Wish from a Guest Blogger

Finally! A guest blogger on the AirBubble blog. Meet Jamie, a Dodge Caravan driving, hockey coaching, college student with a sharp sense of humor. Read on for Jamie’s Valentine’s Day Wish.

“Will you be my …. mentor?”

With Valentine’s
Day approaching, it is important that we take a step back, and examine the
truly valuable relationships in our lives. As humans, we must ask ourselves
questions like, “Is it time to give my cleaning lady a raise?” or “Should I
drunk dial my ex?”  While both are deserving of a fair deal of thought,
there are other less obvious relationships that need examining.

I’m talking
about the relationships you have with your professors.

One of
great advantages of attending a community college is that the majority of
professors are accessible and caring.  With a little effort, they will take
a genuine interest in your wellbeing.  

You start
off the semester with a confident introduction, followed by some light
conversation. The semester progresses and you attend every class. A few weeks
in, he brushes by you.  You react with a smile. He gently flutters his
eyelashes. He appreciates the smile.  Eventually, you corner your
professor  during his office hours. You
shut the door and take a seat.  Sure, he probably doesn’t want to hear you
talk about how good Cornell colors look on you, but you talk his ear off for 30
minutes anyways.  

you can.

And let’s
face it, you love to hear yourself talk. Throughout the semester your
relationship flourishes into something beautiful.  Your B’s become A’s.
 You find yourself looking forward
to class.  And while his use of emoticons in grading
your paper has become borderline inappropriate, you are content. Because
that’s his thing….  ….  

suddenly its time to pop the question:

sweetheart…  App deadlines are approaching…

And, well….

I’m ready
to take our relationship to the next level…

Will you
write me a letter of recommendation?

He says
yes without hesitation and as a student, you have just experienced your defining
moment.  You attend college and someone knows who you are!!

While you
may have spent that first semester at Albany, partying away Mom and Dad’s
money, this letter signifies that you came back. And, -to quote my dad- “DID


 You are
setting up your room at the Cornell dorms and haven’t spoken to your professor
since finals.  You’ve moved on, but he can’t seem to take a hint.
 You guys just weren’t compatible long-term.  Besides, long-distance
is just too hard.  

What you
had was meaningful while it lasted.  You both gained perspective on life.
 Through the highs and the lows, you had someone to call your mentor, your
friend.  A guiding light in the sometimes pitch black environment that is
community college.  

he’s connected at Citigroup…  I mean, only if that whole musician thing
doesn’t pan out…      

So this Valentine’s Day, send a box of sweet-tarts and strike up a conversation with
your favorite professor.  You never know where it will take you.

Today, The Next Day and the Day After – the mysterious black hole called your future

Pick my brain, please! I gave my students 15 minutes to brainstorm topics for the Airbubble blog where I provide a running brain dump of what a teacher is really thinking. No holds barred. Ask it, and I’ll discuss.  Here’s what 15 minutes of freestyle thinking produced – a blog about careers.

Seriously? I was all primed to do some good old style teacher trash talking and the most common topic submission was resumes and interviews. Just like my students to focus on themselves. 

So here we go. I’m going to talk about a mysterious illness called the Pizza Delivery Syndrome. Or – what happens when the only thing on your resume is the low level part time job you’ve been snoozing through for the last few years? No mystery here – it’s going to be pretty hard to distinguish yourself in the crowd of recent grads when there is nothing on your resume that stands out. And no, you can’t say you went to Harvard if you didn’t. My suggestion – stop reading and start looking for opportunities that you can build a story around.

Here’s an example. Start something on your campus. You don’t need to cure cancer; you just need to initiate something. It’s the story that counts and the learning you acquired through the process of starting something. 

Let’s use the example of Student X.  For argument sake, I’ll call him Greg.  Greg approached me recently and asked if he could restart the Marketing Club on campus. I’m assuming that’s a rhetorical question because undoubtedly the answer is Yes! Yes! Yes! Why? – Because now Greg can regale his future employer with the steps he took to create something from scratch. It’s called leadership and employers love it.

By the time Greg is half way though his detailed explanation of how he petitioned the student government and secured a budget for his fledgling club, his future employer will have jumped on his desk in exaltation. “We love ya, kid. Here’s your offer letter!”

Bottom line, opportunity exists and you need to seek out opportunities that provide a platform to promote yourself.  And don’t forget the most obvious opportunity – your professors are creating an environment that will allow you to perform to your highest potential. That achievement is captured in a number less than 5 and hopefully greater zero – your GPA. Get it higher than a 3.0 and you’ll have something to put on your resume.