Design Your Own Future

Have you all noticed the number of NTU teachers who have gotten into trouble in the past few years?

One stole women lingerie, another ratted on his lover to the immigration department. Then there was this teacher who disappeared overnight after a student allegedly reported him for sexual harassment.

All in all, life is tough as an academic, even more so if you are a teacher at the School of Communication and Information.

Let’s face it, all the stereotypes I heard about journalism/media students turned out to be true.

The SCI students I encountered in my four semesters as a part-time lecturer were among the brightest and most talkative. They questioned, they talked back, they spoke up, they told me off, they even critiqued my critique.

But a handful also knew how to butter up by sending me complimentary notes, like, “You are a cool dude.” Or, “My mom thinks you are happening.”

Which decent human being can resist such accolades?

A few did cause me some problems by being too passionate with their declarations on their blogs. And of course, a few crossed the line of the student-teacher divide by making fun of my favorite football team.

I realized by the second semester that I kind of acquired a reputation of being “mean, sarcastic and demoralizing’.

So some smart students pre-empted me by putting themselves down in their self-critiques, in an attempt to get me to get off their case.

Little did this group know that I was also capable of being kind and motivating.

I guess some of you might remember that I always liked saying that design is a communication tool, and a person who can communicate with effective design stands a better chance of changing the world.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, some students applied my effective design mantra to the area of their personal grooming. A few times, I had to pretend not to notice the rather provocative clothes. Mac Lab 3 could be very cold, I was worried that some of you might catch the chill with so little cloth.

Yes yes, you could argue that it was effective communication, but did you forget my other hang-up? Like, appropriateness?

It has been almost two years since I last stepped into the campus, but I am always so happy whenever I received an email or a call from one of you.

This is not a secret, so I can say it: any form of communication from any one of you will always make my day.

So, what are you waiting for?

Recycled from a blog I wrote in April 2008, for the class of NTU SCI 2008.

Re-dedicated to the class of 2009.
Re-re-dedicated to the class of 2012.
Re-re-re-dedicated to the class of 2013.