Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Class that Might Just Kill Me

Let me start off by stating that I LOVE what I do. I love working in a research lab, performing my own experiments, and learning something new everyday. I even enjoy my classes (or at least 2/3 of them)… But there’s this one class, and this one professor, that just might be my undoing.

You know it’s going to be bad when one of the first things mentioned in your new graduate student orientation is “Tips on How to Pass This Specific Class”. Yeah, not a good sign. I’ve been told by the other graduate students that this class is sort of your “Initiation to Grad School”. If you make it, you’ll do fine, basically. Also not a good sign.

The professor for this class is AT LEAST 80 years old. No joke. He wears a lab coat to class, uses an old-fashioned projector screen instead of powerpoint, and carries around a retractable pointer-stick. Basically, your typical old college professor who refuses to get with the times. I’ve deemed him “My Crazy Professor”.


Not my actual professor, but you get the gist :-)

I’m beginning to agree with the other grad students that this man has in fact died and reincarnated a couple times, because he just will not go away! And it’s not like the university can retire him because he’s a tenured professor, so he could technically teach until the day he dies. So long as he doesn’t kill me first…

The man is an outright bully in the classroom. And a horrible teacher to boot. He has managed to teach an entire midterm’s worth of material in just one month (no joke, I’ve filled an entire one-subject notebook with notes up until the first exam). He has put up example problems and then picked on individual students to answer the question and THEN mocks them if they don’t get the answer fast enough. He’s pretty much gotten to the point in his life where he no longer cares what people think, which is terrible for everyone around him, but especially his students.

I cannot get out of this class, as it is required for my degree. And Lord help me, I REALLY don’t want to have to repeat it. But I need a B to pass it. And his tests are impossibly difficult and filled with nonsense, trick questions. For example, there was a problem on the test that he had mentioned in class briefly the day before the exam. The day before! And the example problem he had given us was 10X easier than the problem he expected us to solve on the actual exam. Really???


Exactly.

We just got our grades back from our first exam, and my grade was less than stellar. And way less than passing… My only saving grace is the knowledge that this class is divided into two sections, with a second professor teaching the middle portion (two exams worth) and this crazy professor teaching the first and last portions (two exams worth). From what I’ve heard, the goal is to get an A with the easy professor’s exams so that when you completely bomb the other two exams, it all evens out to the B you need to pass. I can only hope…

In the meantime, I’ll just be over here re-listening to a bunch of recorded lectures (because my crazy professor doesn’t know how to speak at a normal rate of speed) and furiously jotting down notes. At least I get a little bit of a break before he comes back at the end of the semester. Praise the Lord and Hallelujah!

Well, I hope this made you either laugh with me or cry for me. Cause I’ve done plenty of both in the last month, believe me! 

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