You may be wondering why I'm writing you a short e-mail with a letter of recommendation attached to the bottom. After all, you have not requested such a letter. Nonetheless, I occasionally like to send letters of recommendation to students who have not requested them. The reason I do this is to let them know how they are doing and what kind of impression they are making on at least one of their professors. You are one of my advisees, and it is likely that in the future a prospective employer will specifically ask for a recommendation letter from me. If such a request were to be made of me today, this is what the letter would look like.
To Whom It May Concern:
Stanley Galbraith is one of my advisees. He has informed me that you are considering hiring him for a full-time position. He has also informed me that you require a letter from his academic adviser. I am pleased to provide such a letter.
Stanley is the rare student who takes a substantial portion of what he learns in the classroom and applies it to his everyday life. His professors are overwhelmingly liberal, and he seems to listen to them and apply their ideas on a regular basis. Let me provide a few examples.
*In addition to advising Stanley, I taught him once in an upper-level night class. The class was full when he tried to sign up, but I made extra room for him because he had missed his advising appointments and therefore needed to get into several classes lest his financial aid be canceled. I also agreed to serve as his new adviser after he upset his previous adviser by failing to keep advising appointments. She berated him, and that upset him. I took him on because I thought he could learn from the experience of being advised by the only Republican in the department. Dealing with his liberal victim mindset has been a challenge, to say the least. To date, he has never kept one of his advising appointments. That is why he never gets the classes he desires. In short, Stanley seems to believe that rules are mandatory in reference to others and discretionary in reference to Stanley.
*Stanley had a tendency to come to class listening to an iPod, which he did not turn off once the lecture began. He just kept his earplugs in and swayed to the music while I lectured on light topics such as first-degree murder and aggravated rape (I teach criminology, by the way). The syllabus clearly stated that he was not to do this (and allowed me to deduct a point from his final average for every transgression). I also reminded him of this by sending numerous e-mails. But since he did not read the syllabus and did not check his e-mail, he never figured out that he was risking failing the class until it was too late. In short, Stanley’s disregard for rules is exacerbated by his lack of common sense and his propensity to live in the moment without regard for the long-term consequences of his conduct.
*Stanley seemed to get confused in many of my lectures. I know this because once he took off his earplugs and started to listen to the lecture, he often made strange faces. When I saw these pained expressions, I always stopped and politely asked Stanley what was wrong. He then announced that he was “lost.” I just suggested that he should bring a pen and notebook to class, rather than his iPod. That usually made him even angrier. In short, Stanley seems to be more interested in broadcasting his problems to others than he is in pursuing common-sense solutions. He clings to his status as a victim because he has Attention Deficit Disorder – a pathological need to draw attention to himself, which, seemingly, can never be satisfied.
Stanley will probably be graduating this semester. But it has been a close call. He began his final semester on five waiting lists (to get into the last five classes he needs to graduate). This happened because he missed his final advising appointment and all the required courses were filled up by the time he came by my office. He had to personally track down all of these professors and beg to get into their classes. For two weeks, he called my office constantly (and consumed more of my time than all of my other advisees combined). I advised him patiently throughout the ordeal but, to date, I have received no thanks for doing so. In short, Stanley sees government officials as servants obligated to insulate him from the consequences of his own actions. At no point does he consider the possibility that the system would break down if everyone behaved the way that he does.
There is a chance that someday Stanley will grow up and stop living in accordance with the worldview espoused by his sociology professors. But I pity his first employer. If you hire Stanley, you can expect him to be late, inattentive, confused, angry, and in constant need of supervision.
Aside from these concerns, I have no other reservations.
Mike S. Adams