Set Himself Up For Not Setting Up

, , , , , , | Learning | February 16, 2018

(I’m in my final year of Illustration at university, and I am about to display my previous year’s work at the end-of-year show. We have one week to clean, set up the temporary walls, install the computers for visual work, and organise what will go into each space. Because of the amount of work required in this crucial set-up stage, it’s vital that a lot, if not all students, turn up. Unfortunately, students at my university tend to treat the set-up week as the perfect time to go on holiday. I turn up on Monday to find literally THREE other students out of six fully-fledged studios to have actually bothered to show up.)

Me: *talking to another student* “This is completely ridiculous.”

Student #1: “Yeah, I know. If it’s going to be like this all week, we may as well cancel the d*** show. [Student #2] literally came in for five minutes, walked around, and left. You just know he’s going to throw a strop when he returns to see none of his work has been put up.”

([Student #2], for the record, is a MASSIVE drama queen when it comes to this type of stuff. Aside from barely turning up to class, he is very bullish when it comes to presentation of work, and he always talks down other people’s ideas if his aren’t centrestage. I decide to go speak to one of the lecturers to see if we can goad people into actually coming in to help us out.)

Lecturer: “I’ve already posted a bulletin on the student portal. If they don’t bother turning up, their work will be left until the absolute last when we decide on set-up. If, of course, there’s any space left by then.”

(The space each studio is given is incredibly small, so they want to maximise the available space without overloading it with work from each student. So, it seems only rational and fair that those who are actually there to set up the space will get priority. Fortunately, the email works, as we get more people turning up as the week progresses… spare [Student #2]. On Friday evening, the very last day of set-up, and the very final day that students are allowed to be in the space, [Student #2] arrives with his work.)

Student #2: *speaking to lecturer* “Hi, I want to put up my work here. Is that okay?”

Lecturer: “Well, you’re a little bit late, [Student #2]. It’s almost closing time, and what work goes into the space has already been decided. I’m sorry, but there is no more space.”

Student #2: *unbelievably, he’s annoyed by this* “WHAT?! Why did nobody tell me?!”

Lecturer: “You were told on Friday last week that this week would be the set-up time. Where have you been?”

Student #2: *doesn’t answer* “This is ridiculous! So, you mean to tell me that I have to take all this work back home with me?”

Me: “Yeah, it is ridiculous, isn’t it? Ridiculous how you can expect immediate treatment for your own work when you put in absolutely f***-all effort to get this space up for next week’s show. All of us were told that if we weren’t here for set-up, then our work would be put at the back of the queue for consideration. You didn’t even bother to turn your work in for the show, for whatever reason, but let’s be honest, here; you don’t have a reason, do you? You’re just f****** lazy.”

([Student #2] didn’t say a word in response, just silently fumed. He hung around for ten minutes, literally asking anyone and everyone still there on a Friday night if they could swap their space with him for at least one of his works. Everyone denied, and even if they wanted to, it would’ve been vetoed by the lecturers, as the spaces were already decided. When he realised he wasn’t going to get his own way this time, he threw his work into another student’s fragile installation, smashing it to pieces, before storming out. Unfortunately, the other student wasn’t there when it happened, and needless to say, when told her year-long work had been destroyed, she was PISSED. [Student #2] never bothered to come to the show or graduation. I wonder why…)

Professor Lockhart: Still Working

, , , , | Learning | February 15, 2018

Because of a mix-up with some of my transfer credits, I’m not able to sign up for my next semester’s classes until the last minute of the add-drop period during the first week of school. Rushed and trying to figure out what’s available to fit my needs, I end up with the only open section of a 200-level course that’s held in the evening, once a week, for three hours at a time. Figuring it’ll be a pain but survivable, I go to the first class the following week, when the add-drop period is already over.

The professor spends the first 30 minutes of the class talking about himself. Among other things, he uses the phrase, “big fish in a small pond,” and I start reassessing the survivability of this class. When he finishes, he says, “Now, I know you might all have questions, but we are on a schedule, so I can only take questions from three people.” When no one raises a hand, he actually picks three students to come up with questions to ask him about himself. All three manage to scrounge up something, and he spends another 30 minutes answering.

It gets no better when we actually get to the material. He introduces a website he wants the class to use for our assignments, instead of the school’s; it’s a site that he made himself, and it looks like a disorganized mess. He tells us that we will be reading an entire textbook every week, and we will be able to manage that because we will be using his superior reading strategy, where you only read the first and last sentences of every paragraph. He passes out printouts and has us practice this fool-proof technique while taking notes, to prove to us that that’s where all the information you need is.

At the end of the class, he says he knows this class is long and people will probably get hungry and want to eat, so he will arrange a schedule where each of us will take a turn bringing food. To feed 25 people.

I call my father the next day, since he’s a university professor in the same field and has taught in this state before, to ask him if he knows this guy. My dad’s response is, “Oh, yeah, I taught a class with him at [Other University], 20 years ago. He used to throw pennies at students.”

I decide to drop this class like a hot potato and just pay the late fee to sign up for a different one, which is when I find out that new revisions to my degree plan mean I don’t need credit from that block, anyway.

And that’s how I was saved from taking an unnecessary class by my professor being a complete dumpster fire.

She Does Like To (Belgian) Waffle On And On

, , , , , | Right | February 13, 2018

(My family and I are attending breakfast at an extremely fancy restaurant. My grandmother has a tendency to be a pretty difficult customer, but on this particular day, NOTHING seems to be right. After nearly five minutes of arguing with the hostess, we finally are seated. My grandmother then walks around the buffet tables and returns to our spot, empty-handed, with THE MOST disgusted facial expression I have ever seen. The waitress notices.)

Waitress: “Is everything all right, ma’am?”

Grandmother: “No! This is absolutely disgusting!”

Waitress: “I’m very sorry to hear that. May I ask what’s wrong?”

Grandmother: “Well, for one thing, this table is too small!”

Waitress: “I’m sorry. Would you like me see if there is another table availa—”

Grandmother: “No! We’re already seated! But you said there’d be a full omelet station, and Belgian waffles, but I don’t see any of that here!”

Waitress: “Ma’am, this is what we always serve during breakfast hours.”

Grandmother: “But your ad said a full omelet station and Belgian waffles! I WANTED OMELETS AND BELGIAN WAFFLES!”

Waitress: “I’m sorry, but we don’t serve those in our continental breakfast buffet. Perhaps you are referring to our Sunday Brunch Special?”  


(The waitress quickly goes over to the hostess stand and brings back a small flyer, which I read. Sure enough, in bold letters, it advertises a Sunday Brunch Special from 9:00 to 11:30 that features the desired items. It’s 8:00 on Wednesday.)

Grandmother: “Well, you have to do something about this! I don’t want any of that!”

Waitress: “I’m sorry, but I am not able to change the menu like that.”

(My grandmother stopped complaining long enough for the poor waitress to get our drink orders, but was soon at it again, varying between loud, disapproving huffs, slopping and picking at her food, and complaining to anyone who would listen, including strangers. It didn’t help when I discovered a crack in my glass. At that point, she got up and walked INTO the kitchen looking for a manager. By the time we were done with our meal, my grandmother was counting out a 5% tip, and the waitress looked like she was about to cry. So, before I left, I found the manager and told her what happened. Apparently, my grandmother had said the waitress was “incredibly rude” and “had no idea what she was doing.” Then, I hugged our waitress and apologized.)

Giving The Peer Review A Bad Review

, , , , , | Learning | February 10, 2018

(I start a college course a year later than people usually do, as I left my previous school and spent six months working in Germany. That, combined with the fact that my birthday is in October, means I am 18 when this happens, and most of the other students in my class are 16 or 17. This happens after we do some peer-marked work and I’ve passed my classmate’s work back to her. I’ve marked her work, and while the information is good, her spelling is terrible, and I’ve corrected the spelling mistakes. I’ve had a lot of problems with this student in the past, so I don’t have a lot of patience for her.)

Classmate: *looks at all the corrections in her work, then looks at me in disgust* “Uh, what is this?”

Me: “Well, you made some mistakes with your spelling, so I corrected those as I went along. Your work itself is really good, though!”

Classmate: “You think you’re so much better than me, don’t you?”

Me: “No? Why would I think that?”

Classmate: “Because you’re older and you worked in Germany! You think you’re smarter than me! You think you’re the smartest person in the room!”

Me: “Darlin’, even if you were alone in this room, you still wouldn’t be the smartest person here.”

The Grade Is S*** And So Is The Student

, , , , , | Learning | February 6, 2018

(A friend of mine, a professor, has a student who never attends class or turns in an assignment. Quite naturally, he gets a failing grade, which he then formally appeals. When my friend refuses to change the grade, the dean calls him and the student in for a meeting to try to find a “compromise.” The dialogue goes like this:)

Student: “I need this class to graduate. You need to give me a passing grade.”

Professor: “You didn’t meet any of the course requirements. You did not attend class and never turned in any assignments. I cannot change your grade.”

Dean: “I’d like to find a solution to this problem. Is there any way [Student] could complete missing assignments to change his grade?”

Professor: “That wouldn’t be fair to the students who did complete requirements.”

(At this point the student, who has been belligerent in previous dealings with the professor, loses his cool.)

Student: “You will give me a passing grade, or my lawyer will be contacting the school.”

Professor: “I am not changing the grade.”

Student: “You are going to. You will eat all my s*** and give me that grade!”

Dean: “Let’s calm down and see if we can’t find a compromise.”

Professor: “What kind of compromise? You mean I only have to eat half his s***?”

(My friend got up at that point and walked out, with the student continuing to yell. He didn’t change the grade.)

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