Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do you *really* want to take another class of mine?!?

So, I had this student last term who SWORE she was graduating in August, so she just HAD to have the lab to the second part of the Intro Bio for non-majors sequence. She through such a hissy fit, that her Dean called my Dean - and voila!! - she got credit for a 300-level majors class called "Independant Readings." Grrrrrr. I tried to make it as hellish as possible. And, although she swore she was an English major, her paper was written in, to the best of my knowledge, Swahili - but it sure wasn't APA-formatted English!!

So, due to intense pressure from admin, I gave her a C -she deserved an F (if for no other reason than using medical, biological, and anatomical texts from 1975) - she didn't do the assignment: 1. she didn't format properly; 2. her grammar and syntax were atrocious by 3rd-grade standards; 3. she didn't address the main topic of the assigned paper; 4. and, if doctors used her anatomical descriptions of the brain, we'd be doing lobotomies by simply shaking excess water out of our inner ear canals. BUT, admin wanted her gone. So, with a long note from me about her TOTAL FAIL for the assignment, she got passed so she could graduate.

So why in the good name of Jesus' pet cow is she taking the other intro lab I teach this term? You know, the one you're supposed to have taken before the one she couldn't get into over the summer so she got her shpeshull attention and a 300-level grade for. You know, you take 101 and its lab, 102 - then next term you take 111 and its lab, 112. She did the paper to replace 112. Now she's taknig 102. WTF?!?! Can I fail her now, just on principle??? Purty please.

Mantra time: I LOVE my students. I LOVE my students. I LOVE my students. I LOVE my students. I LOVE my students.

It isn't working. I need to buy stock in Cabo Wabo...

PS - I'm now seriously considering pursuing a PhD in a really obscure branch of biology. Would somone please quit passing me the KoolAid? One of you PhD-Jim-Jones mofos is messin' wit my mojo....I think it's Snarky, or maybe even Meanie...Sadists...


  1. As a non-biologist, here's my evaluation of the job market for Ph.D. biologists.

    There are too many candidates and not enough openings for jobs that include the following:

    * field work in fun, exciting places
    * interactions with cute animals
    * growing bacteria (it grows everywhere - how hard could it be?)

    There could be better prospects in areas that do involve the following:

    * lots of math
    * killing cute animals
    * frequent trips to Cleveland
    * first-on-the-scene expert in biological WMD

    Finally, there's no need to consider getting a Ph.D. for which the school doesn't pay you. If it's not worth their money, it's not worth yours.

    I hope this career advice helps.

  2. I am soooooooo not passing you any Ph.D. Kool-Aid!

    Don't do it!!!!

    Find a nice position with a decent salary and benefits in industry. Sell your soul for 5-10 years and then MAYBE reconsider more schooling after the economy recovers. (Unless you can't find a job, then make sure you follow Ben's advice and go somewhere that will provide reliable funding, not just beg-for-work-every-term conditions.)

    Whether industry or grad school, your soul gets sold anyway, so why not get paid a decent wage, gets tons of professional experience (which seems to be more prized in some fields than actual academic ability nowadays), and be able to live a life outside of work that provides such luxuries as the ability to pay your rent, go to the dentist, have job security and a mostly reliable schedule, and deal with mostly professionals (as opposed to mostly snowflakes -- although the flurries are everywhere).

    P.S. Because I got trapped in Adjunct Hell, I never completed my Ph.D. It's not a happy place in Adjunct Hell! No one in grad school should have to beg for work just to pay tuition to our lords and masters. It's an abomination that rose to prominence (in my field) after I was already enrolled, entrenched, and believing all the lies the well-heeled faculty of my program told me. It sounds like something similar is happening at your school too. I see the signs.

    Meany's advice: Don't go to grad school if they don't fully fund you! Consider that a refreshing blast of ice water a opposed to sugar-laden Kool-Aid.

  3. Thank you, both. I was having a moment of "OMG I'm nearly done with grad school, WTF ever shall I DO?!" moment. My gut response was: more grad school. I now see the error of my ways.

    Oh, and believe me, the private sector is FULL of snowflakes. Just ask my boyfriend who took his bachelor's and got a ...shudder... real job. His boss is a bigger snowflake than at least 50% of my students...


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