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Stories from school and college

Saved By Petty Revenge

, , , , | Learning | CREDIT: thatburghfan | November 18, 2022

When I was in college, I took a class called Conceptions of Human Existence. I was so, so lost. I like classes with facts, and if it had not been a required class, I would never have gone near this subject.

On the first test, I got a C- and I learned that nobody got a lower grade. This was an ominous sign that I was in trouble. I just could not absorb the vague, nebulous concepts being discussed.

It was like getting a test question, “Does our worldview affect the world or is it the opposite?” and being told my answer was wrong. How the heck should I know? It was complete and total frustration.

Around the halfway point of the semester, our professor was about ten minutes late to class. He came in just at the point when we were all getting up to leave.

Professor: “Please sit. This will be short. I’ve just left a meeting with the department chairperson, and I was denied tenure.”

We could tell he was angry about it. Then, the class was dismissed.

For the rest of the term, our classes just involved chatting about topics in the news and no actual assignments to do. I was left wondering what I could do to pull up my grade. With a week to go before the final exams, [Professor] let us know that we had to do a final exam. Great, should I have been taking notes during our class-wide chats? What the heck were we going to be tested on?

Professor: “Since I didn’t get tenure, I’m leaving the university after this semester. Your final exam will be a take-home essay, and you can choose one of three topics. The first is your feelings about the war on terrorism. The second is your feelings on the American healthcare system. And third, if you don’t like either of those topics, you can make up your own question and answer it. If you turn in anything that shows effort, you will be given an A. I do have to be able to defend my grades, so don’t just turn in a two-sentence piece of crap and think that’s worth an A. Put in some effort and get a guaranteed A. I am doing this for all the classes I teach this semester.”

That was his malicious compliance for being turned down for tenure. We did, in fact, all get an A.

I heard later from a student aide who worked in the office that the department head was mad about it but couldn’t do anything about it.

Final Exams Are Stressful; That’s The Nature Of The Beast

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2022

It’s final exam time. I give an exam on a Thursday. One student doesn’t show up. Well, this happens. The student fails the course because they really needed some points from the final exam to get a passing grade, and that didn’t happen. I continue to grade all the things.

On Sunday night, I get an email from that same student with a question about a zero for a quiz grade from a few weeks before. They don’t say anything about the final exam, so I decide I’m obligated to acknowledge it.

Me: “You got a zero for the quiz because it was a closed-book take-home quiz, and you quoted the textbook and included page numbers. You can’t use a book; that’s cheating, and the consequence is a zero for the assignment. Also, you weren’t at the final exam, and therefore, you got a zero for it.”

Student: “I was very stressed out! I couldn’t come to the final. I will come tomorrow at 6:00 pm to take it.”

Me: “I’m not available tomorrow evening. Without discussing this in advance, I’m afraid no makeup exam is possible.”

The student then emails me, their advisor, and two other administrative people:

Student: “This email is to inform you that I am suing [My Name] because she didn’t grant me accommodations to retake my final exam.”

I don’t know what came of all this, but I did not get sued.

Wish You Could’ve Phoned It In, But No Phones Allowed

, , , , | Learning | November 13, 2022

I am taking accounting for my business degree, and my teacher is probably the most uptight teacher I have had in years. He is a stickler for language and has a “no phones allowed in class or you are buying me doughnuts” policy — the usual signs of a migraine-inducing professor.

This beginning-of-semester assignment takes the cake, though.

He tells everyone that we have a MANDATORY meeting all the way across town for a business convention and that we need to have a “very good reason to not attend”.

This meeting is an hour’s drive away at 6:00 pm. He keeps talking about how important it is, and I stress about dressing nice and appearing on time ready to answer questions.

The day comes.

I show up and there are a total of ten booths, most of them trying to advertise their tax companies to us.

I spend five minutes there and get my pamphlet and myself put on the grade, and then I leave.

I missed out on a lot of homework time for this.

His Career Is Over Before It Even Starts

, , , , | Learning | November 11, 2022

I attend university for animation. At the moment, I’m in my senior year, which means senior capstones are in full swing. Senior capstones (senior thesis films at some schools) are a big deal. We had to do official pitches for our films. Then, some were “nominated” and we had to assemble teams of ten students to work on films for the next year. 

It is a hefty process, and there was a mad scramble in the week we had to “recruit” or be recruited. A lot of films were not greenlit due to a lack of people, and a lot of students were either rejected from films or were on those teams that were dissolved too late to join another film.

Enter [Classmate]. During the “recruiting” week, [Classmate] was on one film and then jumped ship onto another. 

When the director/pitcher of the first film announced that they were no longer trying to be greenlit and had decided to try to let their team find new members in a group chat that all of the rising seniors were in, [Classmate] went into the group chat and publicly said:

Classmate: “Oh, no, I’m so sorry! I only switched films because the film I’m currently on had more opportunity for me to animate characters! Is there any way to rejoin your film if this one doesn’t work out?”

This was not received well by the group chat.

Fast forward to now. We are now two weeks into the new school year, in preproduction, and working on getting everything ready so we can actually begin animating. At this point, we have all received important information such as deliverables and assigned roles, and we generally have a lot of important work done on our films.

[Classmate] suddenly messages after months of inactivity in the group chat:

Classmate: “Is it possible to switch capstones?”

The ENTIRE chat immediately erupts in disbelief. Many people ask him how he has the audacity to be so disrespectful to ask this kind of question publicly.

The reason he has decided to try to jump ship (AGAIN)? The team he was on made a plot change that he didn’t like. 

Keep in mind that we have spent YEARS at this point having classes where almost all the professors have drilled one thing into our minds: “Your professional career doesn’t start when you leave [University]; it starts now. These are going to be your professional peers.” 

And yet, in a chat with over 300 people in it, here [Classmate] goes, advertising not once but TWICE that he is unreliable and will jump ship at the first sign of something not going the way he wants it to.

We’re barely two weeks into this year-long film, and [Classmate] has already managed to ruin his professional reputation among all of the students that are about to graduate, be his peers, and be people who can recommend him to jobs.

Yikes.

Google Is Free (Even Twenty Years Ago)

, , , , , , | Learning | November 9, 2022

I grew up in California, and we have a species of Condor called… wait for it… the California Condor! I was and still am an animal lover. In elementary school, I would read books about all kinds of snakes, lizards, vultures, and condors — basically, creatures that most little girls wanted nothing to do with. (To be fair, once I learned how spiders “ate” and then about “spider wasps”, I kind of noped the hell out of the insect/arachnid kingdoms.)

As a little girl with eclectic tastes, I spent my childhood perking up with a lot of interest upon hearing about how the California Condors had gone extinct in the wild and how conservationists were reintroducing them from captivity breeding programs. By the time I hit high school, I was ecstatic when condors began wheeling and circling in the skies around my hometown. For some odd reason, they really seemed to like our imported-long-ago eucalyptus trees.

Enter [Girl]. [Girl] went to the same school as I did, and we ended up butting heads off and on throughout my childhood. Now, for whatever reason, [Girl] believed that it was her life’s goal to out-knowledge the local animal lover. Unfortunately, [Girl]’s life’s goal coincided with absolute conviction that she was right about so very many — VERY, VERY many — wrong things.

Snakes are slimy — regardless of what the books say. All snakes are poisonous. There is no such thing as venom; that’s the incorrect and out-of-date term for poison. Constrictors are poisonous, too. Frogs and toads can give you warts — because the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be contracted from amphibians. Cows are animals, NOT mammals — because the two are mutually exclusive. Ants are NOT animals; they are insects — again, mutually exclusive.

And the crux of our story: the giant birds circling over our town were red-tailed hawks. As I watched our condor population soar (pun intended) from six to twenty-plus individuals over the years, [Girl] and I had several verbal altercations over the identity of our birds. This sums them all up.

Girl: “Oh, the hawks are back!”

Me: *Looking up* “Nope. Those are condors.”

Girl: “No, they’re hawks! Want to know how to tell the difference? The shape of their wings. The wing shape of those birds says they’re red-tailed hawks.”

Note: these birds were circling and coming down to land on our eucalyptus trees at a height of about three stories up in the air. They would land awkwardly, flaring their huge wings until they got their balance. Even from this distance, you could see that their heads were naked of feathers.

Me: “[Girl], these birds don’t have feathers on their heads. Their tails aren’t red. And their wingspan is huge.”

A condor’s wingspan is about 9.5 feet. A red-tailed hawk’s is 4.8 feet at most, y’all.

Girl: “Nope. You’re wrong. You just can’t see the red of their tails from below. This is one thing I know more about than you.”

Me: “No… No, you don’t, [Girl].”

Girl: “Yes, I do. The shape of their wings says hawk, so you’re wrong.”

She turned her back and walked away the instant I held a science book about animals anywhere near her. She wouldn’t even acknowledge anything that could possibly prove her wrong. On the plus side, this provided me with a very “cross versus vampires” way to make [Girl] shove off during my school years.

Twenty-two years later, [Girl] is a staunch anti-vaxxer. She found me after a twenty-year gap and spent far too much of the next two years yelling at me on social media to wake up, do my research, and stop injecting my body with autism before I blocked her. Yes, vaccines don’t GIVE you autism; the injections ARE autism. I just can’t even anymore.