Thursday, December 6, 2012

Around Aberdeen: The SOC

The University of Aberdeen has bestowed upon its distinguished social science postgraduates a hallowed chamber of enlightenment and learning: the Strategic Operations Center. Actually, the room is called the postgraduate study room, but because most of its occupants on any given day are Strategic Studies (or Strategic Studies and International Law) students, I opined that we should start calling it the "SOC" (pronounced "sock"): the Strategic Operations Center. With the help of CN Warden, it's starting to stick!

Located in the bowels of the Edward Wright Building annex(e?), the SOC has become our de facto social and intellectual hub. It boasts ten desks, eight computers, a bookshelf, a bunch of coat hooks, a couple of non-functioning telephones, and a set of drawers we can't get into. As you can see from the pictures, we've elected to customize the place and really lay claim to it. In addition to calling it the SOC, we've added a laminated world map, which we've marked with those little tabs you can put on book pages; and we also got a folding map of the Middle East and North Africa (though whoever designed it put North Africa on the opposite side, so that part of the map is pretty much worthless). The Director bequeathed to us a map of Africa, and there's a folding road map of Oman on order - once it arrives, the Middle East map may move to above CN Warden's turf so that I can put the new one up above my own turf.

I also contributed the Wyoming flag, CN Sister has stated an intent to bring a couple of her own flags, and CN Ness has stated his intent to bring in a North Korean flag - I'm starting to get the impression that he has some sort of odd fixation on North Korea, but in this particular group, it works.

At any rate, on any given day, and particularly before exams or essay deadlines, you could walk into the SOC to find as many as eight Strategists working on one thing or another. The computers are ancient and prone to temporary freezes, and the heating ranges from inadequate to completely non-functional, but we make a good go of it. It's also common to run into our Anthropologist cousins in the hallway. I've become fond of walking through a gaggle of them and saying "Look, a group of anthropologists in their natural habitat!", which tends to get a few grins.

As we get into dissertation time, we expect to spend hours upon hours upon hours burning the midnight oil to get our dissertations sorted out.

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