20 November, 2013

surrounded by buffoons… or baboons… or balloons or something

i try to be charitable, sometimes with terrible results, but i try. i tend to be a bitchy-mouthed closet optimist whose generally positive feelings about the human race are hidden under bitter patter (ha! bitter patter! that's freaking great!). if i had to generalize, i'd say most humans are stupid but kind, which i suppose is better than smart and evil, though there's plenty of that to go around. but i digress, as is my wont.

y'all know i enjoy being in school, and y'all know i am pretty fond of most of my classmates, really fond of some, and filled with murderous fantasies regarding a special few. what gets me is when the class as a whole gets caught up in some sort of bizarre vortex of pimply-faced teenage whinery and begins to berate professors for being "too haaaaaard." last night our lecturer asked for feedback on the midterm exam he had given us a couple of weeks back. i found the exam very fair, and recognised that any knowledge loopholes were due in their entirety to my failure to study properly. i did well, but not very well, and for that i can only blame myself. i knew that the information asked for was the information we had been given in lectures, even when i didn't know the answer. i was the second one done the exam (after c, the speed demon), with a lot of time to spare.

last night, the whinery began: the exam was too hard. there were too many questions. could our final be a 1.4 h exam but we'd be given 2h to write it because some people didn't have time to finish? i was baffled. is this the millennial disease of entitlement that all the news magazines love writing about? this idea that if you don't get an A the fault must surely lie somewhere else, not with you, oh never with you, darling child? i thought the time we were given was more than adequate. i thought the questions were reasonable. and i also figure that this is grad school and if you can't handle it, shut your gob and rethink your choices. not to be a complete asshole about this, but this isn't the first time my classmates have pulled this kind of stunt and each time it makes me die a little more inside.

the thing that really gets me is that each time the lecturer (told that his concepts were haaaaaard!) or the professor (told that his exam was haaaaaard!) actually apologizes to the class! and each time i step up and say, out loud, that no apology is necessary as we are all adults here and should expect a little hardship. i'm sure it's not winning me any brownie points but i'm past caring. i find the idea of professionals who are taking the time to impart sometimes difficult concepts to us in a clear and organized manner apologizing for our inability to "get it" abhorrent. i must admit that i despise unfair markers and exams designed to showcase how little one knows, but for the most part, i think we are being treated with kid gloves and i am tired of the whining. when i fail to grasp a concept that is being taught, i ask for clarification. faced with the same situation, several people in my class raise their hands and say that it's haaaaaaard and unfair and they don't understand and the fault surely cannot lie inside their heads because, gosh darn it all to heck, their mommy always told them they were the brightest and most amazing thing to ever walk the earth.

perhaps i'm just ready for christmas.


Zhoen said...

I highly recommend reading the Chris Hadfield, Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Very readable, insightful, amusing. He spends some time on whining, as a bonding mechanism - that only works briefly, and then undermines the work.

the auntologist said...

Bitter patter! I love you forever!

polish chick said...

zhoen - i should read it. he is one brilliant man.

auntologist - thank you, thank you very much! it came out entirely by accident, and i love it too, if i do say so myself.

Tom said...

Agnieszka; Somehow this and the following post slipped under my bloglist radar; sorry for being late. I read your account with great interest and sympathy. I fear that what you have experienced is not specific to your class. It seems to be a malaise that has spread much farther afield. Part of it, or so I suspect, is about that great human preoccupation with Denial; the other is the idea that has been foisted onto the public that anyone can achieve anything. When that does not look as if it is about to happen, enter denial. Anything else I might say on this subject might just drift within the bounds of judgementalism. Heaven forfend!

polish chick said...

tom - no sorry and no late. you read when you want, and if you want. that's how this works. it oughtn't feel like a job!

and i am saddened that this is a full blown world epidemic. i remember reading a science fiction story many many years ago in which the entire world had become really stupid and was run by an elite few who had what would today be seen as average IQ's. the world looked somewhat like a fox newscast and seems far less surreal today than back when i read it. sigh…