The Gifts That Keep On Taking

, , , , , , | | Learning | July 22, 2019

I had been working as an English teacher for about a year at this university, and always had an open-door policy with my students so I could help them with their papers for any class. I was on the young side of things, only a couple of years older than half my students. 

As a new, young faculty member, one of the male teachers asked me out. I turned him down flat. I made it clear I wasn’t into dating anyone as I’m asexual and aromantic. He blurted out, “You just don’t like guys!” and stormed off.

What I didn’t realize was that this was overheard by one of my female students. She started coming to my office regularly. I inquired about any papers she needed help with, but she was very evasive. It seemed like she mostly came to shoot the breeze. I talked to the extent I could while I was grading.

Then, the gifts started coming. She would leave them with the department secretary, who would deliver them to me. That’s when I finally put two and two together; this student not only was bisexual, but she wanted me to be the third wheel in her relationship with her boyfriend. When she’d heard the male faculty accuse me of “not liking guys,” she thought that meant I was a lesbian and would be interested in her.

I told her gently but firmly that I couldn’t be in a relationship and that it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to hang out in my office unless we were discussing her homework. It seemed she understood as she stopped coming by.

But she still sent gifts, leaving them with the department secretary. I told the secretary to stop accepting gifts on my behalf, but the next time, the secretary would accept them anyway.

I then was taken aside by the department head to talk about accepting gifts from students that could be construed as “bribes,” and I was asked if I’d been keeping documentation of all my grades in case I was accused of doctoring the books or playing favorites. I was mortified. I insisted I didn’t accept the gifts — that the secretary kept accepting them on my behalf. I insisted he talk to her so she understood why it needed to stop. I doubt the department head believed me.

And still, the gifts came. I refused to accept them, but the secretary would just leave them on my desk when I wasn’t around. I didn’t want to throw them out in case I got accused of taking them home. I finally started leaving them on the secretary’s desk once or twice until I was able to land a new job and get out of that university before anything worse escalated.

Money Doesn’t Organ-ically Come From Nowhere

, , , , , , | | Learning | July 13, 2019

(I work in the finance office of a university. This story was told to me by my coworker. Note that this took place over the phone with a student in online classes.)

Student: “When am I getting my financial aid stipend? I need that money.”

Coworker: “It looks like your funding is scheduled for [date two weeks later]. Once that hits your account at the school, we will review any excess funding and send it out to you within fourteen days.”

Student: “Why’s it going to take so long? I need that money now; can’t you move it up?!”

Coworker: “Unfortunately, we have to adhere to federal guidelines on when financial aid funding can be distributed to your account and will not be able to move up that date.”

Student: “But I need that money. I have to pay my rent and I have medical bills.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry to hear that, but I…”


Coworker: *after a brief pause* “Well, I am very sorry to hear that and I hope that things get better soon. We won’t be able to move up your disbursement dates, but if you check back in with us after we’ve received the funding, we may be able to expedite your stipend.”

(The student seemed satisfied with that resolution and ended the call. When she shared this story with me later I couldn’t help but speculate, “Wouldn’t your organs just falling out of your body, I don’t know, kill you?”)

Breaking Bread Daily

, , , , , , | | Hopeless | July 9, 2019

I used to be bullied in junior high school by the “popular kids” back in my home country, so I have always tried to distance myself from those kinds of popular kids so as not to be bullied.

Fast forward to my university life. I do not have a job and am just living off of a piece of bread and a bowl of oats a day. I only have $20 to survive for the next two weeks. 

Out of nowhere, a classmate of mine — the popular kind of kid — whom I have never actually talked to invites me to come over to his place to cook together and have dinner with his housemates. Instinctively, I refuse, but after a bit of persuasion, I decide to come over. 

I go there and help with the cooking and they all like it! I used to cook at home, so I can actually cook pretty well. He then comes up with the idea to make this a daily routine where they all buy the ingredients and I’ll be the one doing the cooking. This really helps me a lot, since I can cut my expenses for food. 

Later on, it turns out that he actually realised that in the cafeteria, I mostly sat by myself and only had a piece of bread for lunch. Then, one day, he decided to ask me to come over for dinner. This really reminds me that there are actually good people out there, that really care about others.

Say Aloha To This Class

, , , , , | | Learning | July 7, 2019

I started college in 2001. My first semester was when the infamous 9/11 terrorist attack occurred. I remember being very distracted for obvious reasons that morning but still went to a nine am nutrition class, where surprisingly, the professor still held a lecture. I don’t even remember what she said, as we were all listening to events unfolding as news was posted. Later, the campus was evacuated due to safety protocols. 

Later that year, my father decided to surprise us and take the family on vacation to Hawaii! We were all very excited, and we planned to leave the week before Christmas. As this would be my finals week, I worked out alternatives with all my professors. All were happy to accommodate this, which was very kind…

…except for the nutrition professor. Her answer was no. Unless I was there for the day of the final, there was nothing I could do. I told her I understood, and that without the final I would have a B, which was more than fine with me. She kept repeating that my grade would drop if I wasn’t there as if I somehow didn’t understand this. I kept repeating that I was accepting of this outcome and was going to Hawaii. She was furious that my priority was to spend time with my family rather than in her class which I only took because it was a general requirement.

Go figure, lady. Your class isn’t more important than my holiday or terrorist attacks.

This Specialist Is Out For Blood

, , , , , | | Healthy | July 4, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the cardiology department and the topic of conversation between me, another medical student, and a specialist somehow drifted towards practical exams. The specialist suddenly asked us if we knew how to fail a student. Neither of us knew what she had in mind, so we shook our heads.

Then, she explained.

First, find a patient with LVAD — a mechanical implantable pump that assists the heart with pumping blood in heart failure; due to how the pump works, the patient has no palpatable pulse. And then, you give the student a regular blood-pressure monitor and instruct them to take their pulse and blood pressure.

Those poor students.