From the Archives – The Downward Spiral

By Jake Strickler, Co-Editor, and Amy C. who was here in 2000. Amy, if you see this and want me to print your full name, send me an email.

As most of you know, the team here has spent the last couple of weeks hard at work going through the archives and putting together a little Das Tor Through the Years book (Get yours while ya still can!). Anyways, I’ve been going off like a broken record the whole time about how there’s stuff from decades ago we could publish today without changing a word, and today I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is. I’m just kidding; I don’t have any money.

Anyways, this is one of those gems that somehow navigated the perils of the space-time continuum to zoom in from October 9th, 2000 and alight upon my desk. I’m going to type it up before it starts fading away like Marty McFly at the end of Back to the Future (Was it McFly? I don’t remember. I could be making the whole thing up.)

So, here, in its unedited glory, is a piece by one Amy C. published on the aforementioned date (over FIFTEEN years prior to today). You’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight because she obviously has the ability to read the minds of people in the future, which is pretty freaky. Maybe track her down for some stock tips.

I’m trying out a delayed gratification thing here and saving photographs for the end. There are some real saucy ones from the 80s, along with the funniest comic I’ve ever seen, so don’t miss them. But don’t even think about skipping Amy’s piece, because she’ll know. Actually, she knew fifteen years ago and..HEAVENS TO BETSY LOOK BEHIND YOU. Haha, gotcha.


By Amy C., Published October 9, 2000

I’m new around here. I moved to Phoenix in mid-August, and I still haven’t gotten used to the heat (it simply hurts to sit in the sun), the dry air (my hair has split ends and my nose is always crispy on the inside), or the sprawl (I drove 250 miles one day and never left Phoenix).

I’m also new to Thunderbird. In the beginning I was dazzled by the recruitment material I saw. I got rave reviews from people whose opinions I valued about the prestige and utility of the MIM degree. I enjoyed instant respect (did I detect a little awe?) from colleagues when I told them where I’d be studying for my Master’s Degree. “Wow,” they’d say after a pause, “That’s a good school.”

So the shock of experiencing the opposite perception at Thunderbird itself has been profound. I read harsh criticism on Thundervoice [Ed. – an online forum that used to exist, kind of like our Facebook groups but without the GIFs *coughTraviscough*] and in Das Tor that border on libel. I hear the venomous way people speak about the degree, the administration, the facilities, the faculty, and the programs. I feel the palpable frustration and defensive attitude of Thunderbird staff when I step into their offices. This is another world. I don’t think I like it.

I admit, I encountered my share of exasperating delays, confusion, and misinformation as my entering class was greeted by the new curriculum and all the changes that came with it. I also found some of the classrooms to be dingy (why can’t everything look like the IBIC?), some services outdated or just plain absent, and many price tags on many things (Shall we start with textbooks? Medical services?) to be exorbitant. As my mental list of these drawbacks grew, my perception shifted from glee at being included in this prestigious program, to mild dissatisfaction with some of the trappings.

Then I heard charges of a much graver nature being leveled at the institution to which, like it or not, I was committed (double-entendre intended):

– “Geez, why do they spend so much time on career counseling during Foundations?” “Didn’t you know? It’s because T-Birds can’t get jobs; our rankings for placement at graduation is super low.”

– “Thunderbird accepted 70% of applicants? Huh. I guess that explains how I got in. It also explains that moron I met at the Pub last night.”

My perceptions of Thunderbird’s core competencies started sliding as well. I lost confidence in myself as a carefully-selected, supremely qualified candidate for exceeding in global business. Instead, I was a rare demographic who was snatched up, in spite of my weak business background and patchwork resume, so that Admissions could fill a quota. The MIM program has been resting on its laurels since 1975, slipping into obscurity and obsolescence with the advent of e-business and all the stunning opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Then came “financial registration” and I saw what I was paying to be here. I got real depressed. I drank too much. I showed up late to class. I had a Bad Attitude.

This afternoon, after a particularly spiteful piece in Das Tor, I realized I’d had enough [Ed. – See? We’re good for something]. All these vicious and irresponsible diatribes published for popular consumption, all the petty put-downs and childish pouting (from BOTH sides of the fence) has brought this former complainer to her senses again.

Negativity breeds negativity. Don’t let the condition of the chair you picked in Lecture Hall 53 lead you to the conclusion that This School Sucks. Don’t get caught up in the spiraling one-upsmanship of this raging culture of complaint. Don’t contribute to the dismal, fatalistic atmosphere at this still widely-respected place of learning. Get everything you can out of this school. Milk it for all it’s worth, and you’ll find yourself with  a valuable diploma in return for your investment

Your performance after graduation is the single biggest factor influencing the reputation of Thunderbird’s program. Set a standard that the world looks up to, and the value of the Thunderbird pedigree will rise.

For as long as you’re here, give credit where credit is due. It’ll remind you to look for places where people are working hard and getting results. Try to resolve some challenges on your own. Your contribution to the school will look good on your resume. Find a way to face adversity with a can-do attitude and a modicum of equanimity. As Conan the Barbarian said (or was it Nietzsche?), “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Just toughen up a little, folks.

And the next time you hear me whine, remind me to do the same.

As promised, here are some juicy pics from this hallowed institution’s Lost Decade (or Decades…really everything up until the end of Paella in the Desert seems to have a Woodstock-y “If you can remember it, you weren’t really there” vibe): The 1980s. All images are provided by the muckraking troublemakers/hit international recording artists behind the song “Hotel California” here at


First Up, The Party Queens and Fiesta Kings of 1981:

Party 3

Party 2

We never quite find out just how Carnaval was, but it seems fair to assume that it involved a great deal of this:

Party 90

The party was so good that even the Rock & Roll guerilla army pulled themselves away from swigging T-Bird (the wine) and dancing to Bo Diddley is a Lover/Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger and showed up. A question: What does the gentleman on the right have in his shirt pocket? Sticks of dynamite? Nunchucks? Neither would surprise me.

Party 4

And then this guy showed up and took the thing to a whole new level.

Party 5

For those who weren’t up for a little gender-bending, however, the Degenerate Gamblers’ club threw a party the same night:

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“Well, look, Alejandro, it’s been twice now that you’ve fallen asleep with a cigarette in your mouth and just burned that damned mustache right off your face. Have you thought about making some changes?”

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Over in the Tower, though, this gent deserves extra special mention for going HAM (radio) on the reg.


It can’t all be about fast living, though, so here I’d like to highlight the activities of the Chill Out Club.

Mahalo guys!

Party 8

In light of this picture, I’m starting a movement to pressure TSG to allocate a portion of its funds toward hammocks. C’mon guys.

Party 7

Going through the archives of the paper, you find a lot of complaining about the male to female ratio. Sure didn’t seem to be a problem for this guy.

Pool Party

Lastly, I’d like to take you to the pool after closing time at the Pub, in those days before they put those pesky padlocks on the gates promptly at midnight. Er, wait, there weren’t any gates. For those of you sensitive to good ol’ debauchery, click out NOW.

Party WHOA

To finish up, here’s the aforementioned comic. If you don’t think it’s funny, I don’t think that you’re funny.

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Anyways, there’s a lesson to be learned here: when this place gets you down, take a cue from your elders, put on some wonky clothes, knock a few back, and build a HAM radio. Don’t take your pants off and jump in the pool though; it ain’t the ’80s anymore.

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