Monday, April 22, 2013

I wish it was only more of the same

Before the exam:
  • What's going to be on the exam?
  • Can you make the exam easier?  I really need to pass.
  • What chapters should I study?
  • I won't graduate unless I pass this test.

After the exam:
  • Just five more minutes!  I'm not done with the exam!
  • You didn't provide accommodations for my disability that is not documented.  I want a retest.
  • That exam was too hard.  Nobody could even finish it.
  • You didn't give us enough time to finish it.
  • It's not fair!
  • I need to speak with your department head about this issue.

Folks, these are not the worthless complaints of undergrads.  These are the complaints of worthless graduate students.

So help me God, this is not how my week should begin.


  1. I guess this means that the small fraction of undergrad students that escaped the 'pods' in the past (and went on to grad school) has finally been taken over.

    Dr. Miles J. Bennell: "They're here already! You're next! You're next, You're next...!"

  2. This might explain profs like my Ph. D. supervisor. He wasn't just lazy but he refused to think or use his imagination in any way, at least as far as my thesis work was concerned. How he ever got a doctorate, let alone tenure, is a mystery to me.

  3. Holy carp. I thought these were froshies. Grad students should know the answers to their questions.

    What's going to be on the exam? Everything that we talked about/was on the board in class.

    Can you make the exam easier? I really need to pass. Then you really need to study and pay attention.

    What chapters should I study? All of them.

    I won't graduate unless I pass this test. Then you should have listened to the answer to the second question.

  4. My sympathies. May they all go on to work in the pharmaceutical industry (and cripple it, not the people who take the drugs they create).

    Since Frod has absented himself, I will channel him and point out that the/a solution to at least one gambit above is to become the dept chair yourself. Or maybe you've already done that.

    1. Surely being made department chair would be a cure worse than the disease, don't you think? Besides, all the student complaints, not just my own, would get filtered up to me.

  5. Please, Ben, accept my condolences. Gradflake whining is among the worst.

  6. Gaaaaaah. Of course, going on the model of my own graduate program, you're allowed to use cattleprods on gradflakes for disciplinary purposes. I mean, we all know they don't care if it's good attention or bad attention they get from the profs, as long as it's attention.

  7. One of the professors in my grad program was infamous for his response to a whining gradflake. He reached into his pocket and said, in front of the class:

    Here's a quarter. Go call your mother and tell her you're not ready for graduate school.

    1. On the off chance I ever wind up somewhere with a grad program, I'm totally using some variant of this.

    2. I had a grad student in a class whine to me once while begging for an extension on an assignment, but I had to bite my tongue because my preferred immediate response would have been something that would have damaged my relationship with his supervisor, a good colleague of mine. (i.e. How the hell did Dr So-and-so agree to supervise an obvious idiot like you?)

    3. I've had colleagues whose choices for "favorite student" baffled me, but in my grad program, there was one student no one would agree to supervise. Never even sat comps - no one would write the test, because everyone was sure the student would fail. Not that they were wrong - it was widely agreed that this person was an idiot.

  8. I hear you, Ben. We have to be on the alert for gradflakes, too. Luckily I don't give exams in my graduate courses, just problem sets and a presentation here and there; so I don't get a lot of whining.

    This semester I was treated to an uncommon form of gradflakery in my topics course, and it was partly my fault. The story is still developing, so I'll save the full misery for another day.