I had no intention of weighing in on the "Octomom" furor that has been raging in the media for the past couple of weeks. Gossip, especially of the celebrity type, doesn't interest me. But something happened yesterday that made me change my mind about having my say.

After collecting the mail from my department office, I waited for the elevator so that I could leave that building and head over to the one where my class is held. As soon as the doors opened on the floor where I was waiting, a cacophony blared into the hallway: "I'm grateful she's not in our department!" and "How are we supposed to deal with the inevitable media blitz that this will bring?" and "What the hell is she thinking?" were the first intelligible comments I heard as I walked in. Without saying anything, I observed my colleagues engaging in a very lively conversation, the topic of which I remained happily clueless for two floors. When we reached the first floor and began to exit the elevator, I learned that the discussion I had heard was about Nadya Suleman, the now infamous "Octomom." Why were my colleagues' knickers in such a twist? Because Ms. Suleman is an alumna of our esteemed institution and plans to return in the Fall 2009 semester to finish the Master's degree in Counseling that she began prior to her last pregnancy!

Celebrity is not unknown at our university. Kevin Costner is, by far, our most famous alum, but he isn't the only well known person with ties to our school. Heck, we've even experienced our county's only serial killer! Students and faculty have been bombarded by the press more than once in the recent past and while it is disruptive when camera crews park themselves in the Quad and news helicopters hover overhead, we've dealt with it just fine. So why the upset that I heard in the elevator?

Nadya Suleman's fifteen minutes of fame and glory will, clearly, take a bit longer to fade away. With her return to our university will come the aggrivation of the media onslaught but even worse, experiencing her story firsthand will, no doubt, bring out the worst in our students and faculty. Reporters will illicit responses to questions about her decision to have eight more children by IVF when she already had six at home; they will want to know our reactions to her being on campus and using the child care center; they will hound the often irresponsible for comments on the irresponsibility of an unmarried and unemployed woman having 14 children. In short, the media will seek our judgment on an individual who seems to have some significant psychological issues. What good can come of that?

Honestly, I am glad that I will retire before the lions and tigers and Nadya overtake our campus.
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2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I don't even want to think about what it will be like when/if she shows up on campus. Wonder who's going to babysit 14 kids while she goes to school? Wonder who's going to pay for her school? And her bazillion babysitters? Oh well, she'll be in the media for a long time to come, I'm sure.

    Have you thought about teaching one or two classes online after you retire?

    Have a good weekend!

  2. Carleen Says:

    From what I gathered, she intends to use the campus childcare center. However, considering that grad school classes begin at 4 PM (most start at 7, though) and the center closes at 6, I don't see how she could make it work to her advantage.

    I am seriously considering the possibility of teaching online once I retire. I can't imagine NOT teaching!

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