Friday, October 26, 2007

That Bitch!

I'm usually one of two things. I'm either pretty stoic, the quiet person who only speaks up when something needs to be said, something contributed, or something corrected. Or I'm the silly person who says the most random things that sometimes (0ften?) make no sense. In any case, I'm not a short-tempered person nor do I get angry easily. Anger is an emotion I bottle up, but when it's full or when something sets me off, the results won't be pleasant.

Now, this hasn't been the best week. I got back my first exams for 3 classes. I didn't do well on two of them (above average but still a low B, which is like failing by Asian standards). The first exam was just poorly written and points were taken off for nit-picky things, how I hate that (and that class). The second exam was simply because I didn't have enough time to study for it adequately, so that's excusable. But, what happened in my environmental journalism class is unforgivable.

I had worked quite hard on a profile of an "important person whose work impacts the environment or public health." I thought I had done fairly well. Well, I got a B+. I'm irked because I haven't gotten below an A- on any final draft of a paper since like middle school, but that's all beside the point; I can live with that grade. What really ticked me off was the instructor's comments (she's not a professor, and I refuse to call her such).

On a second interim draft I sent, she made some comments and suggestions, things I actually attempted to do within the remaining 2 days or so before the final draft was due. Well, her comments on why I got a B+ was so insulting that it made me furious. My jaw dropped at what I was reading. When I get mad - like really mad - my arms and hands get numb, I get light-headed and lose balance, and I get really hot or cold. I was definitely feeling these "symptoms."

Here's what she wrote at the end of my final draft:
"This is definitely better than your original. It reads better than before. And you do a better job describing the significance of her work. I would still have liked more from other secondary sources who can discuss her as a person, not just her work. Colleagues could even discuss her personal traits. And, more importantly, I had asked you to ask her about her own experiences as an older mother. Did she have pre-term labor? If she didn’t, then obviously, it’s not relevant and you wouldn’t put it in. Also, I was hoping you could interview someone she knows personally, like a friend or family member, including one of her children, especially her daughter. Was she a role model to her? I had mentioned that in the interim draft you sent me. That type of information would make this less one-dimensional and more interesting for readers.

Grade: I would do no more than a B plus, since he didn’t address my earlier comments."

That bitch! Okay, I really did try to address her "earlier comments." I interviewed my person a second time (albeit via email) and asked questions I was totally not comfortable asking, like whether being an older mother gave her difficult pregnancies such as pre-term labor. The answer: nothing was out of the ordinary, everything went normally. How am I supposed to put something in my paper that doesn't exist? And through her I tried to contact her family via email, but they didn't respond. How am I supposed to put something in my paper when I can't get the info? Particularly when I only had about 36 hours to do it. Even if I somehow manage to contact them, I don't have a car and thus have no way of reaching them for a personal face-to-face interview. I actually said this in an email to her, so she knew I was unable to interview the person's family though I tried.

The instructors of this class fail to understand that we are undergrads - that we have other classes, busy schedules, etc. We don't have the time nor means to a lot of the stuff they ask us to. Oh yeah, then there's this . . .

What I wrote:
"LC spent her childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, a city with huge smog problems that used the heavily-industrialized Ohio River as its water source. “I watched news stories of a river so heavily polluted with combustible hydrocarbons that it caught on fire,” recalls LC."

Her comment:

"I presume she’s referring to Lake Erie in Cleveland, right? That’s a famous story, so you might want to mention that detail."

What?! Did she really just say that?! Clearly, the person I interviewed grew up in Cincinnati, not Cleveland. And it's pretty clear that I said "river" and not "lake," and that this river logically refers to the Ohio River in the previous sentence. I still find it hard to believe she wrote that comment.

I'm totally going to email her back tomorrow when my mind has settled a bit and clarify what I wrote and why, and how I actually did try to follow her comments. I don't expect it to change my grade, but I do expect her to feel some guilt about writing/talking smack about my final draft.

Am I just being anal and really defiant about this? Maybe, but I don't think so. I want justification. I dislike it when I've been unfairly (or stupidly) criticized.

---TANGENT---
So I was browsing the internet, as I'm wont to do (often too much). And on I think Dudetube, I came across a picture of the guy from this site. Now, the golden retriever puppies on that site (since it's a site about puppies) are really quite adorable, but the guy holding them is just so damn hot. It's not fair. I wish I had his body. Sigh.
---END TANGENT---

3 comments:

Mike said...

I've had some wacko professors like that. It truly irks me that some people can be so ignorant. The worst are grad students at my college who think they know more than the professor. Grad students also teach the vast majority of the classes. I've had a few run-ins.

Mr. Intellectual said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cody said...

It's truly a shame that today's education system pits students against teachers. It not your fault, or even hers really. Sadly, I'm hard pressed to find a positive alternative.

Oh and about the puppies. Those are some damn cute puppies, and a damn cute boy too. I wonder if the people who operate the site realize that their attracting a small (but growing) gay audience. I saw that photo on Dudetube too, and my heart melted :)

I took the time to compile a list of my favorite's :D

1) So huggable
2) Simply adorable
3) So ****able :)
4) That dog isn't enjoying that anywhere near as much as I would