Derpy With The Herpy

, , , , , | Healthy | August 9, 2018

(I’m visiting a zoology lab that researches amphibians, which is a facility I’ve never been in before. While I’m sitting in an office chatting with a PhD student and waiting for a meeting, I notice a post-it that says “Clinic” and has a phone number.)

Me: “Hey, that’s not the extension for student health.”

PhD Student: “Oh, no, that’s a [City] free clinic. They do STI testing.”

Me: “Uh… Okay.”

PhD Student: “Yeah, it gets more use than you’d think around here.”

(My understanding of what the amphibian lab gets up to slowly starts to dissolve, when the PhD student speaks up again.)

PhD Student: “Yeah… People just Google ‘herpetology’ without knowing what it means, apparently.”

Sentience Is Not Always Present In Students

, , , , | Learning | August 8, 2018

(We’re in a class at university which is one of my favourites. We are learning about the history of animal welfare and historical arguments over sentience, such as if animals can really feel pain. It’s fascinating. Not long into the lecture, the door opens and a girl comes in whom I don’t recognise. She sits down and stays in the class for at least half an hour, until the lecturer asks her a question.)

Girl: “Sorry, I honestly don’t know. I’m in the wrong room, but it looked interesting, so I decided to stay. I need to go find my actual class.”

Pizza Is Life!

, , , , , | Friendly | August 6, 2018

(I live on campus in a dorm with three other friends, two of whom are twin sisters. [Twin #1] has a habit of talking in her sleep. I am chilling in the living room of our dorm with my roommate. [Twin #1] is napping, and [Twin #2] is not home at the moment.)

Twin #1: “[Twin #2]! Hey, [Twin #2]!”

(Hearing the shouting, [Roommate] and I go into the twins’ room to investigate. [Twin #1] is still calling out for her sister, sound asleep.)

Roommate: “[Twin #2] isn’t here. What can we do for you?”

Twin #1: “I want… pizza.”

Roommate: *trying not to laugh loudly and wake her* “What kind of pizza do you want, [Twin #1]?”

Twin #1: *pauses* “LIFE PIZZA.”

(She then fell back into her quiet nap while our roommate and I cracked up laughing. [Twin #1] doesn’t remember saying anything, but several years after graduation, we still haven’t let her forget!)

Teaching These Days Can Be Murder

, , , , , | Learning | August 1, 2018

(I am in my first semester of college, and one of my teachers for a music theory class starts showing up irregularly. I am in his first class, which meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After about a week of it, I happen to run into a classmate from that class.)

Classmate: “Remember how he canceled all classes on Wednesday?”

Me: “Yeah, that following Friday he said he’d been sick and didn’t want to spread it to any of the music students.”

Classmate: “Yep. And then his car broke down on Monday, so only our class was canceled.”

Me: “And now today.”

Classmate: “About that… as I was walking by his door and saw the note, I said, ‘What did he do? Die?’ One of the other teachers said, ‘Yes,’ and walked away.”

Me: “What? Was she joking?”

(It turns out… no, they weren’t joking. Later that evening word got out. The previous night, he had apparently collected his mother from the nursing home, strangled her to death with a rope, and then hanged himself. In the meantime, the college bent over backwards getting us a substitute and creating many memorials for him. I don’t know how long that lasted, however, because not everyone was pleased with the college’s decision to honor him. As one angry student said, “The ONLY reason he’s not in jail for murder is because he killed himself!” I suspect they eventually realized it was rather… awkward to memorialize a murderer, despite how much they missed him.)

Needs Attitude Readjustment 101

, , , , | Learning | July 30, 2018

(I work as an operator in the contact centre for a large college. I answer calls from students, parents, and whoever else needs something, and then transfer them on to the correct member of staff to deal with the issue. This call is from someone who has completed the first year of an engineering degree and wants to transfer to my college to complete the second year because he is unhappy at his current school. He already called yesterday, and we determined that he needed to speak to [Colleague], who is the administrator for the subject that he wishes to continue doing, but unfortunately she is on annual leave for the whole week. So, we took down his telephone number and told him that she’d call him back when she returned. That was Wednesday; it is now Thursday. The college closed for the summer holidays last week, so there’s just the support staff available for the next six weeks.)

Me: “Good morning. [College]. Can I help?”

Caller: “I want to talk to [Colleague].”

Me: “Sorry, but she’s not here today. She’s on holiday and won’t be back until Monday.”

Caller: “I called yesterday for her, and you said tomorrow!”

Me: “I don’t know why I would have said that. She’s off for the whole week; we all know about it. She’s definitely not back until Monday.”

Caller:You said tomorrow!

Me: “All right, if you say so. Either way, she’s still not here now, and won’t be until Monday.”

Caller: “I want to talk to her about my course!”

Me: “She isn’t here. She has your message and will call you back when she returns.”

Caller: “Put me through to someone.”

Me: “Who would you like to speak to?”

Caller: “Someone who can deal with my course!”

Me: “That would be [Colleague], and she isn’t here.”

Caller: “Put me through to someone else!”

Me: “Who?”

Caller: “Someone else! Put me through to [Colleague]’s assistant!”

Me: “[Colleague] is the admin for that course; she doesn’t have an assistant. It’s just her, and she’s not here.”

Caller: “What do you mean, she doesn’t have an assistant?! Put me through!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but it really is just her. There’s no one there until Monday.”

Caller: “No one? What about Student Services?”

Me: “She is Student Services, for your course.”

Caller: “Put me through to Student Services!”

Me: “For what?”

Caller: “I want to talk to someone about my course! Put me through to Student Services!”

Me: “The only other Student Services we have are for other subjects; they can’t help you with your course.”

Caller: “Okay, put me through.”

Me: “They can’t help you.”

Caller: “Put me through!”

Me: “Seriously, they will just tell you that they can’t help you, and then transfer you back to me.”

Caller: “That’s fine. Put me through!”

Me: “I’m not putting you through to someone who I know can’t help you.”

Caller: “Put me through!”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “I want to talk to them about my course!”

Me: “They. Can’t. Help. You. [Colleague] is the only admin for that course; no one else has access to her records.”

Caller: “What? They can’t just go to her desk and look?!”

(We have paperless offices, all records are sealed by computer passwords.)

Me: “No.”

Caller: “Just put me through and tell them to go look!”

Me: “The other admins don’t have access to [Colleague]’s records. They’re all on different campus. They’re not even in the same post-code, let alone the same office.”

Caller: “So, there’s no one you can put me through to?!”

Me: “Not until Monday.”

Caller: “What kind of college can’t talk to me about courses?! Put me through to someone!”

Me: *giving up, and hoping that someone at Student Services will take pity on him* “Fine, just a minute, please. I’ll see what I can do.”

(He was put on hold while I looked for someone, anyone, who was available to help him, and ten seconds later he hung up. He called back again in mid-morning on Monday, basically did the same thing to another operator in my office, and eventually we managed to get him through to the team manager for his course. They really didn’t have to answer calls about admin but did us a huge favour in doing so. It turns out that after all that, the caller just wanted to haggle with the tuition fee for his course because, after having paid one school for a year’s education, he didn’t think he had to pay us for the second year. As far as I’m aware, the team manager has taken his name and details and has black-listed him, assuming — probably correctly — that the difficulties he is having with his old school likely stem from his own attitude.)


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