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Thursday, May 29, 2008


In my college career, there was one class that broke my spirit.

My engineering spirit if you will.*

*Physics came close, but it wasn't physics.

The professor of this course was pretty young, early 30's at the time, and as far as engineering profs go, he was the easiest on the eyes. Let me digress for a moment and say that doesn't say much on the scale of what is "normally" accepted as attractive in society. Engineering had it's own graded-on-a-curve scale for that category.

This professor, we'll call him Professor Spirit-Breaker (PSB), taught a course that was offered early morning on M-W-F, and was notoriously difficult. We all know how popular Friday morning courses are to begin with, and attendance counted as part of your grade. At this point, I was JUST starting to understand how to survive in college and how to study properly, thanks to group sessions. I was shameless in my ass kissing, particularly so in this course. Because we all had to be there on Friday morning anyways, most likely hungover, I often brought donuts and orange juice to class to perk the class up [read: absorb the extra alcohol still pumping through our bloodstreams]. In the spring, when the weather was starting to warm up, my friends and I convinced PSB to drag a chalkboard outside to hold lecture outside on a sun-kissed, clover-green hill near the classroom. I never missed a tutorial session he offered, had perfect attendance, participated in class, and studied like a mad-woman. And yes, in the pinnacle of my brown-nosing, I baked PSB cupcakes for the class on his birthday.

At the end of the semester, when finals were over and grades were released, I was on the cusp of a grade-point: X9.997 was my final score for the course, rounded to the nearest-freaking-thousandth of a point. I went to PSB and asked to round it up, and he declined to because GET THIS. There was someone ELSE in the class who was even closer to that grade than me, but they hadn't asked to be bumped, so he reasoned he couldn't bump me. Someone had a X9.998. Who was this person, I will hunt them down and inform them of their lapse. PSB wouldn't tell me. It wasn't a failing score, but it hurt my GPA, which I was trying hard to restore after two years of struggling with engineering. This grade also didn't bode well for me continuing on into more advanced courses on the subject. Walking home, frustrated, it was the only grade I ever cried over in college.

Fast forward 7 years. Tomorrow I am attending a training seminar for work, and guess who one of the presenters is? None other than PSB. And guess what kind of work I do now? The subject of his coursework.

I wonder if he'll remember me.

Maybe I should bring a cupcake.


Tabatha said...

Bring a cupcake. AND, if they have any evaluation forms to "rate" the presenter, give him a score lower. Leave a comment that you couldn't round up.

Have fun at your seminar!

Anonymous said...

As someone who was with you in PSB's class...I will commiserate...I feel your pain.


Ethan said...

I'd remember any student who baked me cupcakes, even after 7 years. Maybe you should shove a cupcake in his face and say "thanks for the X9.997, jerk."