When I started my program at school, we were asked to be careful about blogging–a reasonable and not unwise request for two reasons:
One is related to the travel writing thing: When you leave your world and enter a completely strange one—in a new place, doing new things, it’s easy to approach it as a tourist, an observer—and easy to forget that sooner than you think, you’ll become part of that world—the funny looking guy in your basket weaving class might become your boyfriend. One day he’ll start to read old posts on your blog, and next thing you know it’ll be like when Mark Darcy flipped through Bridget Jones’ diary and she had to run down the icy street in her underwear to explain. Fortunately, Mark Darcy was extremely understanding, but that doesn’t mean your funny looking basket weaving boy will be.
The second reason is that the school has some stature, and must be careful of its reputation. This is good for the school of course, but also for its graduates. If I say my spelunking teacher didn’t teach us anything about spelunking, this could hurt both the school—which highly touts its spelunking faculty in its recruitment brochures, and it could hurt me, if after graduation, my potential employer has heard a rumor that the place I received my spelunking training is not as strong as the school another potential spelunker attended–or worse, has read the blog post where I confessed I didn’t learn a damn thing about spelunking.
This is entirely hypothetical of course, and I am in no way inferring that my current institution falls short in the spelunking arena or any other…but in almost any environment—work, play, school or sports—there is bound to be some variance in the levels of competence of the players, and on any given day one might be impressed or frustrated.
Now, my program has also requested that if I have any problems, that I approach the program head directly as opposed to blogging about it. This also seems to be wise advice…at least in theory. In practice—well it’s a little harder. In truth, there is an incredibly large stigma related to “tattling.” So each time someone makes an administrative glitch that means I don’t get into advanced spelunking, or my basket weaving professor fails to explain some weaving technique, should I really have to go “tell on them?” No one wants to be responsible for someone getting reprimanded or fired—and knowing (as I do from my many jobs) that it’s actually incredibly hard to get fired, who wants the political weight of having been the narc? No one I know.
However, most of us would happily complain—maybe not even complain, maybe just tell the funny story—to a friend. And you, dear readers, are my friends. So what’s a girl to do? That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.