Of the 7 hours I (jm) spent at the office today, 6.5 were spent talking with Malaysians. This is actually quite a lot, usually I get some time to take phone calls, answer emails, and surf the web. So maybe it was because I saw more people than usual today that I saw more weirdos than normal too.
First there was the Harvard kid of the day. This boy and his dad sat down and said "we want to apply to Harvard." I asked where else, they said nowhere, and I kind of didn’t know what to say. I reminded them that this was the first year ever that more than one Malaysian got in (there were a whopping two this year) and advised that they look into some other schools. They basically said no. Then they informed me that they were doing "early admission" and he was going to apply for Fall 2007, because everyone in the States applies early to college too. I don’t know where these people get these ideas. They certainly don’t get them from actually reading the information they print out from the website, highlight, and then bring in to me to "prove their point". I politely told them that they probably had to wait a year and take the SATs first. Then the dad yelled at me for about five minutes because they live 250 miles away and it’s not convenient for them to come back up here to register and take the test. I told him (less politely by now) that I don’t have any power to rearrange things for him, and told him to just go to Singapore instead, which is 20 minutes from where he lives. Who knows what they’ll end up doing.
The other really strange one involved a mother and daughter. The mother is moving to some tiny town in Minnesota in August to marry an American, a retired Vietnam vet. Her daughter is six months away from finishing high school here and taking her exams. The mother wanted me to tell her if the girl should go to the US with her and do 12th grade there, or stay here, take the exams, and then do pre-university class work, and then apply to college in the US. I weighed each option for them, and eventually remarked that I assumed there would be a relative or someone here for the girl to stay with if her mother left her behind. She said no, they just figured the girl could hang out on her own (she’s 16), they’re keeping the residence here after all. That was weird. Especially when not two minutes later, she said that because her daughter is an exceptional student and head of her class, (I think I’ve met more "heads of class" students than there are schools in this country) she wanted to do right by her girl and not "neglect" her. I was tempted to ask how running off to marry some old dude 10,000 miles away and leaving your kid behind constituted "not neglecting" her. Then it also occured to me that it was really weird that the mom couldn’t posptone her own trip by six months, so her daughter could finish school here, and then go run off to get married. There must be something I don’t understand about the situation.
Other than that, it was just a normal day of advising- 2 MBAs, a handful of undergrads, and 6 or 7 Master’s or PhD candidates.