On Shabat around ten o’clock, I met with my advisor for the first time. His name is Hans Morsink and he is Dutch. The man is like to type of character an actor on SNL might create as a professorial stereotype. To get to his office, I had to walk to the absolute extreme edge of campus. My dorm is in once corner of campus and his office is in the complete opposite corner in and old house called Smith House. When I got there I climbed up on to a dramatic porch, entered the building and made for his office, room 303. The third floor is markedly smaller than the first two, containing a bathroom and to offices smaller then my dorm room. He is of medium height and build, his hair is like Einstein’s, and he is dressed like one of those experts who appear on Nova. He is wearing brown driving moccasins, khaki Bermuda shorts, and a green Patagonia safari shirt with mesh underarms.
The office itself is full. There is room for the two chairs we are sitting in and nothing else. The office is piled high with everything. There is futon, most of which probably has not seen the light of day in a decade or two. There is a case of Jack Daniels, which he tells me to stop looking at. He asked if all my classes seemed like things that I really wanted to take. I admitted that I was a little unsure about Anthropology 4. “I tell you what you do,” he says. “Go down to the book store and take a look at the books. Pick them up and really give them a good sniff. Take a few big whiffs. If they smell alright, the class is a good fit.” I took big whiffs at the book store. I am now taking Anthropology 4 for real.
The way Drew assigns our advisors is by way of our First-Year Seminars. Everyone takes an FYS in some random topic (in this case, Philosophy and Human Rights) and the teacher of that class is your advisor. Shabat lunch was a brown bag lunch, which we ate with our seminar and our seminar’s professor. Hans had us all introduce ourselves saying our name, our city of origin, and something else interesting. Each of these took a good five-eight minutes because each interesting fact sent Hans on a tangential spiral to God knows where. In one case a rather shy girl was unable to conjure up anything interesting, Hans suggested she tell us about the longest road trip she ever took. In another case, the guy said his hobby was snowboarding. Hans said, “Good luck with that these days. I guess you probably took that up before it started getting warm like this.” At one point he referred to convocation as “Three big speeches and lots of advice.” He elaborated, “They probably said some pointed stuff, but who remembers, you know?” At one point he told a story and ended by saying, “That’s all hypothetical though. None of that was true. I never tell real things. It’s always example.” He paused. “So you know, you never know if I’m talking about anything I know about because it’s all with examples, see?”