In the midst of Advance Registration, students are rushing to meet with their academic advisors. However, an increasing amount of students are noticing that their advisors are nowhere to be found. 

Sarah Andrews (C ‘20) admits that she was actually worried about the well–being of her advisor after 11 unanswered emails. After attending his office hours promptly every single day, Sarah says she found his door locked, with no response to her incessant knocking. “I could have sworn I heard breathing in there, and hurried movement when I tried to look through the window, but I guess he was just...away or something.” 

In fact, Sarah's advisor was at the Avoid Your Students When They Desperately Need You Conference, this year held on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The conference, which is held on an ad hoc basis—only held whenever students need them most—was established to ensure that students would never be able to access key figures in their academic lives when they actually needed them. According to the conference website, this year’s keynote address is entitled, “How to Be More Available to Your Advisees.”

Ben Cohen (W ‘18) and Natasha White (C ‘18) had similar experiences in which, prompted by an email with simple scheduling questions, they both received the same form letter from their respective advisors explaining that they were “away for an important conference” and “would be out of their offices until further notice.” At the time, Ben and Natasha remarked on the peculiarity of this, as Ben’s advisor specializes in finance, and Natasha’s researches Quantum Physics. While the two students initially shrugged it off as a coincidence, they now both suspect that their advisors were also at the convention.

“Now that I think about it, I do remember a similar thing happening last year at this exact same time! And the year before...come to think of it, it’s always been a struggle meeting with my advisor and getting cleared from my registration hold…God, this is a conspiracy!” said Ben.

Understandably, none of Penn’s undergraduate advisors were available for comment on the conference.