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Stories from school and college

You Must Have The Time Code Written On Your Butt, Like Fry From “Futurama”!

, , , | Learning | October 28, 2022

When my husband was in college, he had to write some sort of Java program. One of his classmates asked if he could copy my husband’s work. 

Husband: “Sure. Just change it a bit so they don’t see it as a direct copy.”

Of course, that student shared it with his friends, and soon, the entire class had copied my husband’s homework, changing it all slightly. The teacher didn’t notice it. Everyone passed. 

Two years later, my husband was called to that same teacher’s office. He spotted a boy in the same room, looking nervous. 

Teacher: “Thank you for joining us. Could you please explain this?”

The teacher showed him two Java programs… and they were identical. It was my husband’s coursework. 

Teacher: “[Husband], I’m very disappointed in you. How could you plagiarize [Boy]’s work?”

Husband: “Eh… what?”

Teacher: “[Boy] told me he wrote this program. I expected better of you. Again: why did you plagiarize [Boy]’s work?”

Husband: “I… I wrote this two years ago.” *Turns to the boy* “Which class are you in?”

Boy: “Eh… Class 1.”

This was his first year at the college; he was a freshman.

Husband: “[Teacher], are you saying I copied his work two years before he—”

Teacher: “[Husband], plagiarism is taken very seriously here. But I am willing to let you redeem yourself. Either you two write down a new code, right here, right now, or this will be passed on to the plagiarism commission.”

[Husband] was baffled; did this teacher not understand how plagiarism and the passing of time worked? Dumbfounded, he accepted the challenge to write a new code on the spot. Since he was in his third year, this was easy for him. 

He did notice [Boy] struggling. Halfway through the challenge, the teacher was called away, and my husband could finally ask how the boy had gotten the code. It turned out that he had gotten it from his sister, who was a second-year. She had gotten it from a friend, who was a third-year: [Husband]’s classmate. It turned out that the code was shared among many students, but this boy made one mistake: he didn’t change anything in the code, so it showed up in the plagiarism software. 

However, the fact that my husband was accused of plagiarism and not this kid pissed him off. He lost all respect for the teacher and slightly angled his screen toward the boy. 

Husband: “Don’t forget to change some of the code this time.”

When the teacher returned, he didn’t notice anything; the boy changed enough code this time and both were cleared of plagiarism. The teacher did promise to double-check my husband’s code from now on. Yes, he was still convinced my husband was the one who copied from someone two years his junior, two years before the boy enrolled. 

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t keep in touch with anyone from that college, but he sometimes wonders if that assignment still exists and if his code is still passed around. Considering it was about fifteen years ago, I doubt it, but we still joke about how my husband is a time traveler.

It’s Hard To Picture Your Day Getting Any Brighter

, , , | Learning | October 26, 2022

I am getting a business degree, and part of my assignment for my business communication class is that I need a headshot so that we can bring it to a resume-building workshop.

I am having a particularly hard day, but I still put on a brave face to get my photo taken.

I am not very photogenic, and the guy is getting nervous. I am getting nervous, too, and it’s a little hard to pull a genuine smile at that point.

The guy taking the photo says under his breath:

Photographer: “Are you even happy?”

I ended up picking the first picture, which was the LEAST terrible. Ouch.

This Bus Driver Sent Them All Down A Terrible Path

, , , , | Learning | October 24, 2022

When I was a child, one of my school bus drivers had a petty feud with the family living about five doors down. Apparently, she had previously driven their child, and he had been extremely nasty to her.

This driver would go out of her way to run over their mailbox every time she ran our route. The family living there complained to the school board multiple times, but the response each time was, essentially, “Here’s our insurance information. Bill us.”

Well, they got sick of it. I remember watching in fascination as they rebuilt their mailbox from the ground up with metal and concrete. By the time they were done with it, it was obviously not a normal mailbox but some sort of incredibly reinforced mail structure.

I actually got to help them make it! They let me hold things for them and fetch tools! One of them offered to teach me how to use the welder, but my mom said I wasn’t allowed to learn how to use the welder.

Anyway, it so happened that, a few weeks later, the lady with a grudge was driving the school bus again. I got on the bus like normal, and I figured she’d seen the improvements and decided not to hit the mailbox today.

Nope! She had just decided to back over it. After I got on the bus, she kicked it into reverse.

The bus made the annoying beeping sound it makes when it reverses. Soon, added to this sound was the sound of grinding, tearing, and scraping metal. It was not a pleasant sound.

Many of the children on the bus started crying. I think some of the smaller children actually peed on themselves.

As I am autistic and have sensory difficulties, I slipped into a less functional state and started slapping my hands against my ears, chewing on my fingers, and rolling on the floor, trying to drown out the noise by shouting, and other techniques I used at the time when overloaded. I don’t really have a lot of memories of this time period.

I’m told that the driver managed to back mostly over the super-reinforced mailbox, but when it came time to pull forward off of the mailbox, the bus became stuck. She started rocking the bus back and forth, putting it into forward, reverse, forward, reverse, forward, and reverse until she was finally able to get the bus off of the mailbox.

She made it a very short distance before the continued grinding sound made her look back and realize that she’d left the rear wheels behind, still mangled on the mailbox.

They had to call a tow company to recover the bus and another bus to take us kids to school. We got to school about forty-five minutes late.

I was… not fit to learn; I was in full non-functional autistic mode. Several other children were similarly affected. The kids that peed themselves and the lower-functioning children were allowed to wait at the nurse’s office.

Unfortunately, because I was “high-functioning” and able to cope with a normal school day under normal circumstances, despite my requests to be allowed to rest at the nurse’s office and recover, I was told to suck it up.

I did not perform well that day. I got sent to the principal nine times for behavioral issues, ranging from irritability, shouting at the teachers when they made a misstatement, punching another child who was making loud noises and causing me pain, failure to pay attention, and engaging in “self-soothing” actions in class such as chewing on my fingers until they bled; these were classified as attempts at self-harm.

That one bad day followed me on my record the whole time in that school after that. Most of the teachers treated me differently after that. I was no longer treated like “just another student”. Instead, I was a Problem Student. 

I was disciplined more often and for actions that other children were not disciplined for, and I had more points knocked off of my grade for small spelling mistakes or lateness. I was able to get a math test from a friend of mine, and we compared sheets, and I found that I had lost points for “bad handwriting”. My friend’s handwriting was just as bad, but the teacher just asked him in class what he had meant to write.

My parents took me out of that school after I was able to coherently explain the events to them. It took me nearly a year and a half to explain what happened and why I suddenly went from being a high-scoring honors student to being in danger of being held back a grade.

With a new school and some directed therapy to overcome my trauma, my behavioral issues improved, though I was never again able to make the honors roll.

I also never saw that school bus driver again.

Trial By (Wish He Would Be) Fire(d)

, , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: DataNerd1011 | October 22, 2022

This happened about ten years ago at my (American) university. I enrolled in a class that two friends also happened to enroll in — an elective for our major. The professor told us straight off the bat that our entire grade would be based on two exams that would be open-book, and we could collaborate with anyone else in the class, as long as we cited that we did so. Additionally, it was the kind of exam where you could submit it as many times as you wanted before the deadline. [Professor]’s rule, though, was that he’d grade easiest on the first try and much tougher with each subsequent try. Fair enough.

Now, some background on this professor. I’m not defending him, but I do think this context is important. He immigrated to the States from another country where women are seen as inferior, and the expectations of women are to be meek and quiet — maybe less so nowadays, but definitely more so when he was growing up.

In class one day, a female student challenged the professor. He argued back, she admitted he had made a good point, and he said to her:

Professor: “You are very agreeable. You’d make a great wife.”

At this point, I probably should have reported him for sexism. However, we all apparently let it slide. He was in his late sixties and he had tenure, so I think we all brushed it aside as harmless; hindsight is twenty-twenty. I am female, by the way.

Fast forward a few weeks into the semester, and the first exam was given to us. My male friend and I did the test together. We submitted it on the same day. At the bottom of my test, I wrote, “Worked with [Male Friend],” because I wanted to follow [Professor]’s rules.

A few days later, we all got our first attempt at the test back. [Male Friend] scored the equivalent of about a C. (Remember, he had further chances to improve.)

My test had a big fat zero at the top with the words “CHEATER” written on it. I was shocked. I obviously stayed after class and asked why this was written on my test, and [Professor] started screaming at me.

Professor: “I HATE LIARS! I HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU! YOU ARE SCUM! YOU ARE A LIAR!”

I could not believe what I was hearing. I was sobbing. explaining that he SAID (and it was in the syllabus) that we could work with other students.

Me: “You said — and it was in the syllabus — that we could work with other students! Where did I cheat?!”

[Professor] grabbed my paper and underlined the first five words of ONE question where both [Male Friend] and I had started off the paragraph saying something like, “The reason that we are seeing these results is…” And that was it.

Me: “Why do you think I cheated and not [Male Friend]?”

But [Professor] would not listen to me. He just continued to insult me until I left.

My university was SUPER strict about plagiarism and cheating. We got emails around once a week about the Honor Council. All the emails said that anyone caught cheating would be reported to the Honor Council and sit trial. So, I went to their office and reported myself. They were all confused.

Council Member: “Wait. You’re reporting yourself? Not the professor?”

Me: *Calmly* “I was accused and given a zero without any evidence, so I want to sit trial.”

Council Member: *Incredulously* “No student has ever asked for a trial!”

But I was following the University rules and I was confident I would win.

Needless to say, [Professor] was not happy. He pulled me aside after the next class and screamed at me yet again.

Professor: “These are my rules in my class, and I decide the grades, not the Honor Council!”

Me: “That’s not the university’s policy. If you thought I was cheating, you should have gone to them. Since you didn’t, I did.”

He was livid and tried to bully me to back down, but I didn’t.

We had the trial, and I obviously won. At the end of the semester, I organized a meeting with the Dean of the school and filed a formal sexism complaint against [Professor]. The Dean, also incredulous, promised to launch a formal investigation into this professor and would be meeting with him to discuss.

I’m sure that nothing happened besides a slap on the wrist, but even a slap on the wrist was worth it.

If You’re Going To Humble Brag, Make Sure It’s Worth Bragging About

, , , , , , | Learning | October 20, 2022

I am attending college and it is the beginning of the semester. Since it is the first day of classes, the professor is having all the students go around introducing themselves.

Student #1: *Bragging* “My name is [Student #1] and I’m eighteen. I’ve been on my own, relying on no one, since I was sixteen. I rent an apartment all by myself, and I’ve owned three cars!”

She looks around as if she’s expecting others to be impressed.

Student #2: “You’re eighteen and have already owned three cars?”

Student #1: *Giggling* “Well, I ruined the first two engines because I forgot to change the oil.”

There’s some awkward silence, so the next person introduces themselves.

Student #3: “My name is [Student #3] and I’m fifty years old, and even though I may have owned a few cars in my lifetime, I’ve never driven a car into the ground by forgetting basic maintenance.”

Cue snickering from other students. [Student #1] made a face but stayed quiet for the rest of the class. I think she ended up dropping the class; she never attended any more classes.