To piggyback on Leslie's entry, I'd just like to reiterate how insane the amount of mail is that we have received in the past couple of weeks. Suddenly, I have gone from computer nerd to mail processor, and even though I have about 8 of my colleagues next to me helping out, it seems like the bundles of mail never end.
Yet, despite the fact that we (the admissions staff) make jokes about how opening mail is about as entertaining as watching grass grow, I gotta admit that sometimes it's really not that bad. In fact, it's even....fun?
Yes fun. It can be fun. There. I said it, and I'm sticking by my story. It actually can be kind of fun to pack ten people into a room made for twelve, bring in 2.3 tons of envelopes of various sizes, supply us with nothing more than our wits, bare hands, and one small bottle of water, and let us loose. (Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit. We don't get a bottle of water.) As the stacks of sorted application parts grow and your feet become buried in a pile of haphazardly strewn-about opened envelopes, you may just realize that a few hours have passed, and you know what? You've had a pretty good time.
Maybe it's the witty banter that inevitably emerges when people are forced to sit in a confined space performing remedial tasks that makes it entertaining? I have to admit, if it weren't for the "mail week" in the office, I would have never been able to learn so much about time shares, the South African to U.S. dollar exchange rate, that Joel's future job prospects are to sell used plastic sheet covers and binders, or that (as I suspected was the case) The Band is in fact singing, "take a load of FANNY." See? With these types of intellectual discussions, how can you NOT have a good time?
Then again, it could be having the opportunity to see so many different stamps from around the world. Our liberty bell stamps have nothing on some of the ones coming through our office. Even the envelopes can be interesting at times. Hmm...as I'm writing this, I don't quite think this is responsible for the jovial atmosphere...
I've got it! The various supplemental material! That's what makes things interesting. I mean, how can getting a statement from Benazir Bhutto saying that one of our applicants swam at the Athens Olympics not be cool? We get all different kinds of material that helps break up the monotony of mail opening. In fact, most of the time the only background noise we have is when we put on some of the music supplements we just received. This week I have heard a gaggle of fiddlers sawing away to some country tunes, pianists of all types, some New Orleans style jazz, a metal band, a pop band, folk singers, clarinetists, cellists, vocalists, and even a snare drum. Who needs satellite radio when you have all of this at your fingertips? True, not all of it was to my liking (to say the least), but some really impressed. Especially the art sent in! Those of you who may have been fortunate enough to have received anything from me in the mail hand-written may have caught on to the fact that my hands can barely write legibly, let alone produce respectable works of art (or any art a step up from appalling for that matter). But some of the students applying to Oberlin are amazingly talented. I might need to hire some of them to come decorate my horribly drab office. Anyways, all of these supplemental materials not only helped me through the ludicrous amounts of mail, but also make me feel very excited about next year's freshman class.
Oh, and just for your amusement, here is some visual evidence of the craziness we've been working in lately:
What more do you expect from a man who thinks he's going to create oil out of plastic paper covers?