Field of Science

Do the student shuffle

Schulmp, schulmp, schulmp! This sound passes my office every so many minutes, and you will hear it whenever walking across a campus, the sound of students who scuff and shuffle along, dragging their feet to keep ill-fitting footwear poorly-designed for walking on their feet. When you become a university professor, you have a reasonable expectation that you will be teaching students to speak, write, and think gooder. But it turns out that we must teach them to eat (Way too many are food wimps.) and walk as well. The student shuffle becomes quite aggravating on field trips like the one to study rain forest biology in Costa Rica because they must wear Wellington style rubber boots both to deal with the wet, muddy conditions and with the well camouflaged pit vipers. When the student shuffle is done in heavy duty rubber footwear, some of which still don’t fit too well, a problem they will soon regret as they figure out that the amount of walking they must do is far greater than what they are used to and even slightly ill-fitting boots make your life miserable (remedy = mole skin), and the din created reminds me of the herd of buffalo that passed by during the night just upstream from our “tree house” in a South Africa game park. You weren’t going to sleep through that experience. And you aren’t going to see much rainforest wild life if you don’t learn how to pick up your feet when you walk either. How much energy is lost with all this friction? Now if they would only close their mouths when they chew and display a smidge of intellectual curiosity about new and different foods. On some other occasion the Phactor may choose to comment about and snicker at the “stork walk” caused by overly high heels and the contribution that makes to a fashion statement. At least you can have a bit of respect for the guy in your class who wears cargo shorts and flip-flops year around. "It makes things simple." Yeah.

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