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The Reason Why

November 4, 2010

I know some of you are wondering about my decision to leave grad school. Initially I was just going to say I had left and leave it at that, but I changed my mind because I didn’t want anyone to think badly of me for leaving, so here goes.
First let me explain a few things about myself. In past experiences with being hurt, both physically and emotionally, I developed a defense mechanism. I would harden myself and let the pain be scarred over, so that area of my life would be protected. As the years went by the scarred areas became a sort of armor against the world. A real dragon of sorts. The sad part about this is that other than a few people, I never allowed myself to get close to anyone, although I did play the part very well.
When I got married and moved here it was like a new lease on life, and I slowly began coming out of my shell and began developing relationships with people, other than just the few. When I started school the process went a lot faster. I really started opening up and I began to blossom as a whole person. I’m not saying I’m totally comfortable in social situations, but they are a lot more bearable, and I’m more talkative instead of sitting there terrified to say something. Anyway, when I chose Criminal Justice as a major it was a perfect fit. I soaked in as much as I could, and nearly drove my husband and family crazy with the stuff I learned. I loved it, and I was good at it. I graduated with honors. I was even proud of myself, something I never gave myself the luxury of being.
Now fast forward to me being in grad school and taking a mid-term for one of my classes. It was going to be a one question essay, the one question was to be chosen from a list of four. The question I got was on due process, a subject I had just written a paper on and so what I wrote was basically my paper, although I could only remember 2-3 court cases that went with it and I forgot a bit about one of the court justices we were to profile. It was all from memory and hand written, all 5 and ½ pages of it.
I was sick and missed the class after the mid-term, but turned in my homework, and a couple of days later I checked in before another class and got “the lecture”…to put it nicely. I was told that my essay was awful and that everyone (including me) had failed (actually, we were given 0s but then he decided to give us all a blanket 25 points) but two people. I was told that my essay would have gotten an A if it had been an undergrad paper. He brought up that I was a writer and was surprised I couldn’t have given more. He then began talking about how he suspected that people had been cheating on case briefs because the briefs were very good and then they didn’t know what they were talking about in the essay. He said he knew I had done my own briefs because they were “terrible”, despite the fact I had gotten 4/5 and 5/5 out of all the ones graded. So I just sat there in total shock, and felt like I was being ambushed. All the pride I had felt in the subject, my degree with honors and the drive that I felt to learn as much as I could just left me, right then and there.
The rest of the week I thought about what was said and came to a few conclusions….such as… I don’t for a minute feel that I should have gotten an A , or even a B on my essay, BUT in no way do I feel that I deserved a zero and then a blanket 25 points, that grouped me in with the cheaters and people that didn’t understand due process (he said I understood it). Hell, I could have gotten a zero if I hadn’t shown up at all. I mean, an essay that would have, in his words, been an A as an undergrad paper isn’t worth anything?? Also, I may be a writer, but I write FICTION. Writing about zombies is a whole lot different than writing an essay from memory, by hand. For one thing, I get to make up things when I’m writing fiction, secondly the process goes something like…1. Smoke a couple of cigarettes, decide what to write. 2. Write and then have a cigarette. 3. Edit what I’ve written, correct mistakes. It’s not like I could make up stuff for my essay, or take a break and have a smoke or even get out the eraser and edit, since we were to write in ink. And the sad thing is this. At the beginning of class, if I were asked to write what I knew about due process, I’d have maybe been able to fluff it up to a couple of paragraphs. By the mid-term I was able to write 5 and ½ friggin’ pages of what I’d learned about it. Isn’t that what the whole college thing is supposed to be about? Expanding your knowledge on a subject? Anyway, I decided to leave for the simple fact that I would not only have to take this professor for a few other classes BUT he would be one of the professors that grades the comprehensive exams that you have to pass to get your masters degree. And there is no way I was going to waste my time taking all of those classes just to fail the comps, no way. I also feel that, for whatever reason, he was in a bad mood and was taking it out on me. I feel this way because of his choice of words, which were apparently used to “get to me”. He’s an intelligent man, who had the verbal capacity to be tactful in what he was saying to me but chose not to. Later, after I had signed the papers to withdraw, the professor called me and tried to talk me out of it. I said I would think about it, but I’m not going back for the reasons stated above, plus a sense of betrayal that I feel. I’m not going back and it friggin’ breaks my heart.

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9 comments

  1. I will personally go to that professor and shove my foot up his ass. DDDDD<


  2. It’s okay Testy, things have a way of working themselves out…things happen for a reason and all that.


  3. I will give Testy a hand. In fact I would enjoy it. Sounds as this professor is in serious need of an attitude adjustment!


  4. It’s okay Glenn, I think it will work out okay, like I said to Testy, things sometimes happen for a reason, so maybe I was supposed to move on?
    Either way, I’m going to make the best of it.


  5. I would also like to say that I had never taken that professor before, the other CJ professors were awesome. They’re the funniest, down to earth and most compassionate people going. And I’m going to miss them a lot.


  6. I have run across proffessors like that. They watched too many episodes of Paper Chase as kids. People like that guy have never lived in the “real world” and crave the power they have over the students.

    If everyone in the class failed, then the teacher failed to present the material or to outline clearly his expectations for the midterm. He failed as a teacher. Period. EOS.

    Most adults do not react well to the old ” I gave you a bad grade because Iknow you can do better” routine.

    You did right not changing your mind, the guy would have reverted to his old ways as soon as you came back, and probably would have been even more of a jerk since now he would think he had even more power over you.


  7. Thank you HB. I’ve been guessing and second guessing about withdrawing, in the end, I think I made the right decision. NOW if I can just get a job in this economy.


  8. I don’t blame you, but it’s a shame it had to come to that. Professors can be douchebags sometimes, but the problem is that they disenfranchise their students when they go off like that.

    Besides, you don’t need a grad school degree to prove your worth to anyone.


  9. Thank you Wyatt. At first it was very demoralizing, but I’m just moving on and hoping to land a good job. Maybe, in time, the book will do good and I can focus on that.



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