My father was a mechanical engineer and my mother continues to practice fine artist. Their combination of genes certainly contributed to my success as an undergrad at the University of Chicago (where the Common Core was refined) taking physics along with Greek Thought and Literature. I’ve long been about connections—connecting across disciplinary boundaries, certainly the ones circumscribing the arts and the sciences. I’m also about significance—trying to say something meaningful, thoughtful. These are qualities that have drawn a certain segment of people to me. Some people really like that I care to make connections in thought and conversation. You may very well be among them if you already know me and hope that my writing reflects my speaking or if you find yourself returning to read me time and again or even if you are binge reading me as a newbie.
A recent conversation with a college-aged family friend made me think about that segment of people again, that segment that I call “fans.” I use that term self-consciously because I am no celebrity. I don’t get talked about in the media. I’ve made no fantastic contributions to politics or culture. And the first time I told my teen-aged daughter about my fan club, she rolled her eyes. Audibly.
The Official Calvin Wang Fan Club recruited its two official members when I was yet a library school student. Particularly interested in developing the technical side of my academic skill set, I was taking my first online course in database management. It was 2004. I was at Drexel University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology.
|I was trying to retool myself professionally for the 2nd time after working for 10 years in applied materials research and development and 5 in non-profit administration. I also have a professional degree in medical art which provided the medical sculpting skills I brought to the materials profession. Yeah, I have an unusual background, but it’s served me well as the Sciences librarian at Arcadia University. In fact, it contributed to me deciding to get a degree in library science with the intent of working in a health sciences library like AU’s. That and a few years of library work/study employment as an undergrad.|
While I have no IT training, I was not terribly afraid to exercise some hardware and software skills at home. I’d also taken a few related courses. It helped that Drexel’s library school was housed in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Still, most of the enrolled students were working in IT and were pursuing related degrees at Drexel.
With the start of the term, I was keenly aware of the dearth of depth that students were already displaying in their discussion board posts, beginning, for some, as early as introductions. I was determined to do better.
Instead of rushing to post as quickly as possible my first impressions of the readings we were assigned, I restrained myself. I digested articles. I reread. I compared and contrasted. I considered ways something struck me based on the professional and life experiences I had. I connected. And then I posted.
I wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize aspirant, but I generated decent posts and occasionally got people to comment. I was certainly—in my humble opinion—on the upper end of the bell curve for quality of content.
|As a high school senior, I also cared to write thoughtful comments in classmates’ yearbooks. More than once I remember someone saying to me, “Yours is my favorite comment. Everyone else just signs their name.”|
I wasn’t primarily an online student, so I was down on campus from my suburban Philadelphia home regularly. One evening the Medical Library Association’s Philadelphia Regional Chapter (of which I’m now the 2017-2018 chair) hosted a reception for interested students at the college’s building in West Philly.
As I introduced myself to someone at the gathering, another attendee conversing with someone else abruptly turned around and said, “You’re Calvin Wang?! I’m in the online database management class with you! I’m such a big fan of yours!” I kid you not, I was dumbfounded. Apparently my effort to be thoughtful had drawn attention from at least 2 students who regularly emailed each other to find out if I’d posted yet to the discussion board. They appreciated the fact that I bothered to write a little more deeply than the average bear and they deliberately paid attention to when I posted and what I said. With that the Official Calvin Wang Fan Club was born.
There’s are no dues. There is no sign up sheet. You just have to appreciate my take on the world and whatever I happen to be writing about to be a member. You know, you don’t even have to tell me you’re a fan. We can call it a secret fan club.
So who are some of the members? That college student family friend. I shared with her about dualism and committed relativism in a conversation about her studies. My newly retired boss is a fan as is a library colleague who’s been the biggest supporter of my writing. The young men I have the good fortune to mentor, in the faith and in the profession, they’re members. My wife. And my mother. I sometimes wear her out in conversation, she says, but she’s a fan.
And maybe you.
But not my teen-aged daughter. She gets bored.
|Linked References (MLA Style)
“mother“: Ruby Watercolor. Ruby H. Wang, n.d. http://rubywatercolor.com/. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.
“Common Core“: “Common Core.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.
“connections“: Wang, Calvin H. “Technologization of Life or Just Making of Unexpected Connections…or Both.” i-candy by wangc. Calvin H. Wang, 12 Apr. 2009, http://icandybywangc.blogspot.com/2009/04/technologization-of-life-or-just-making.html. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.
“dualism and committed relativism“: Wang, Calvin H. “Dualism and Gradations.” iCandybyWangC. Calvin H. Wang, 21 Jul. 2017, https://icandybywangc.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/dualism-and-gradations/. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.
“MLA Style“: Russell, Tony, et al. “MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications).” The Purdue OWL. Purdue University Writing Lab, 2017, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.