M: Good evening, everybody. Today we are pleased to have invited Maggie Shorts from Harvard University to tell us her feeling of studying together with her mom. Well, Maggie.
W: Thanks. I'm happy to meet you all.
M: Maggie, are you and your mom studying the same major at the university?
W:Not really. She is studying in law school and I'm studying journalism. So, you see she is a graduate student while I am an undergraduate. Since we study at the same time and hers is a four-year night program, our school schedules are synched.
M: Which means?
W: We follow the same schedules of study. We take our exams during the same busy weeks and experience similar relief at the end of December and May. Last spring, we compared notes on our cover letters and interviews for our job applications. Last June, as we were both preparing for our summer internships, my mother and I traded fashion advice. Presently, we will probably graduate within days of each other.
M: Interesting. Then you must have a lot in common at study.
W: You bet. As students, we've shared study habits (take notes by hand), general truths (You can't avoid having a few bad professors), and encouraging platitude(like, it's okay! No one will care how you did on your "Science of Cooking"or "Constitutional Law" midterm!). Where she's listened to my complaints about freshman-year roommates and dining-hall food, I've helped her buy textbooks online and wished her luck in moot-court practice. Occasionally, we've even studied together. When Mom came to visit during Freshman Parents Weekend, I took her into the libraries on the pretext that she was on the library tour. We sat side by side in the big open room on the first floor, she diligently taking notes on a huge red volume that she had lugged from New York City on the train, I casually reading about Greek myths.
M: What do you think is the biggest advantage of having a parent studying together with you?
W: I know that my mother has felt the frustration of a paper that won't write and the excitement of mastering a difficult topic. I don't need to explain my elaborate theory that I am a "bad test-taker", she's said the same thing about herself. And talking with her is a good way to get perspective on those occasional hurdles that crop up in college. Although we are both taking a substantial course load, Mom is also working a full-time job in the financial industry. That urges me to study harder, so I should say encouragement.
M: Any disadvantages then?
W: Well, sometimes I wonder whether we are getting a little too involved in each other's scholastic lives. This usually occurs to me about twice a year, when my mother calls to inform me of her grades. Once, she reached me in the middle of a date ("I got my first A! Aren't you going to congratulate me?"), and often, when the news has been disappointing, I haven't known how to respond. Last fall, I was chastised for passing along a speculative tidbit I had heard in the dining hall--- that, because of grade inflation, GPAs once considered good might be viewed with new scrutiny. "Jane has informed me that 'B is the new F,'" Mom announced at Thanksgiving. I didn't know what to say to comfort her.