Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Why I Hate Other Grad Students: The Rant Continues

I guess when you're bitching about other grad students, you never really run out of material.

And I suppose that when you're teetering on the brink of insanity, some days things will irritate the hell out of you more than others.

There is another grad student who is, how shall I say, my nemesis. She may not even know she is my nemesis, but hoo-dawgie! Is she ever.

Disclaimer: I believe in the concept of the Johari Window. I understand that the very things that annoy me most about this woman may be things that I loathe in myself. But gob, I really, REALLY hope that is not the case in my situation. Because then I would be completely horrified and have to lock myself in the basement and never leave the house.

Let's call this woman Fouffy. Trust me, it suits her. The first time I ever met her, she was complaining about how she thought our graduate program should not offer classes on Mondays because she worked at another university (an hour and a half away, as she reminds us every freakin' minute). You see, her department has a monthly meeting Monday afternoons and she is just so critical to her department that she couldn't miss the meeting. And it wasn't fair that she had to miss class just because our department picked the completely, utterly and totally inconvenient time of Monday afternoon to offer graduate classes. Oh - and I forgot to mention: This woman is nearly 50 years old.

Here I've been bitching about how these crazy college kids think the world revolves around them, and when will they learn it doesn't and apparently the answer is: Never.

Because last week, she asked if it would be convenient for me if we rescheduled one of our classes for next semester - Could we not meet at the time posted in the schedule, but meet at another time that was much more convenient for her? (Do NOT get me started on how one of our professors caters to this complete and utter nonsensical crap!) I told her that I believed I would be teaching one of my classes at that time, and thus, I would prefer if we could meet at the time the class was actually listed in the online course schedule book for spring semester. Yeah, I know - I'm crazy like that.

This woman is completely shameless! She actually asked me, "Well, isn't there any way you could teach another section at a different time? I mean, who's in charge of how the classes are assigned?" It is, of course, the program coordinator. She pushed on, "She would probably understand - can you ask her to assign you to teach at another time? It would really help me out a lot, because, you know, of family."

Yes, I'm probably premenstrual, and yes, I know it's a full moon, and yes, for the millionth time, I'm not known for my patience, BUT! Are you fucking kidding me with this?!?!?!!?!? How does anyone have the cajones to ask something like that? And add the sad little, "Well, because you know, of family." Because otherwise, I might have said no, but I wouldn't dare refuse her request because of family. I don't have a kid (as she does) but I do have a husband and a little ankle-biting yapper dog, so that means what? I deserve to spend less time with my family than she does with hers? Her family is more important than mine? I should have to change my schedule around so I have to come to campus one additional day per week so she can come to campus fewer days per week? I have a commute now, too. Granted, it's not an hour and a half, but hell! We have another woman in our program who drives TWO freakin' hours to get to our campus and guess what? She has never, ever, once asked anyone to change anything for her on account of her "commute and family time." I guess the woman who is a reasonable adult actually grasps the concept that it was her choice to drive two hours to class and it's not anybody else's responsibility to make her life easier.

People truly amaze me. And yet I have to wonder: Why am I still shocked and amazed? I should know better by now.



Blogger Shawnee said...

The average person's capacity for self-absorption & stupidity is LIMITLESS. As is, apparently, my ability to continue to be astonished by it.

One of my favorite quotes, from Albert Einstein: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe."

October 06, 2006 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Fraulein N said...

Oh my damn. Every time I think you've hit rock bottom with These People, here comes another one. Her FAMILY. To paraphrase Dave Chappelle as Rick James, "Fuck yo family, n***a! Fuck! Yo! Family!" I HATE when people pull that shit as an excuse, like people without kids don't have demands and responsibilities. GAH.

October 06, 2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Sing it sister!!! I'm in TOTAL agreement with you about this. As if you're so much less important than her. Give me a freakin' break.

October 06, 2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger desiree said...

So what happened? Please don't tell me that you are stuck changing your schedule to work around hers.

I used to commute two hours, each way, to school in the snow (and yes, consequently, uphill both ways). I would listen to classmates complain that the 10am class was too early and their dorm was waaaay across campus and couldn't they just miss the first hour. Seething. Rage.

Feh. It is a good thing that you are still shocked and amazed, it means that you still have standards and expect people to behave like adults. What a concept!

October 06, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

WHat Shawnee said. LOL

I had a meeting with a woman similar to this today. Only it was a slightly modified form of self-involvement: I got to hear, in EXTREME detail, everything there is to know about her four brilliant children and her PhD and her GENIOUS husband, fluent in four languages with an IQ off the charts. Then she proceeded to insult two of my colleagues (also my friends).


October 06, 2006 4:56 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

So what happened?? You're not actually giving into her (or being forced to) are you? I would have said, "Well, because you know, of family, I can't accomodate you." End of discussion!

October 06, 2006 5:25 PM  
Anonymous alyndabear said...

If she's having so many problems, perhaps she should find elsewhere to go to. Geez.

I hate when people just think of themselves. I bet that the fact that YOU also have a life did not even cross her mind one. little. bit.

Bleh. People like this irritate me.


October 06, 2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Suzi said...

I hope that you aren't forced to change and come to campus an extra day a week.

And hurrah for the adult who commutes 2 hrs and doesn't whine.

October 06, 2006 11:27 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I'm kinda paranoid about the "if you don't like someone, it's because they represent what you don't like about yourself" thing, too. I give people the benefit of the doubt waaaay more than I probably should because of it. I'm the one who, when a group is talking about a person they don't like is all, "Now, now, let's be fair! He/She isn't THAT bad..."

At some point, you just have to realize that some people are just assholes and all it says about you that you hate them is that you know and don't care for pricks like them. This grad colleague of yours sounds like such a person.

October 07, 2006 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry fouffy but the current schedule works best for me. Please understand that it's not personal, and I really would like to accommodate you, but I'm just not going to be able to work with you on this.

Than I'd tell the whoever that you like things the way they are now and do NOT want the schedule changed.

October 07, 2006 11:03 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I don't think this woman is like you. She sounds like an ass. I think you should ask HER to move her schedule around so YOU can be home at a decent hour- and tell her "You know, because of hemmoroids." 'Cause she's such a pain in the arse.

October 07, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Um, wow. Just. Wow.

I don't sign up for stuff that isn't convenient for me, if convenience is a problem. Using her logic, I should never, ever have to attend classes and the college should just hand over my diploma. You know, because those classes take time away from my family.


October 07, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I hate that those with "families" get special consideration. I have a family too, and though right now there are only 2 members (4 if you count the cats, which, really, are sometimes more of a pain in the ass than babies) it's just as important to me as your kids and possibly husband are to you. And if they're that important, then you have to decide if right now is really the best time to go to grad school. I did it before kids, because I want to have the time to spend. And if this woman really wanted to go to grad school at this point in her life, well then, she'll have to make some sacrifices. Thems the break, lady!

I agree, other grad students totally suck, TL!

October 07, 2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

As a person who generally likes precision in my word usage, I'm wondering when, exactly, the word "family" came to mean "minor children" exclusively. I know it was sometime prior to 1992, because I distinctly recall being at a "starting your MBA"-type reception when someone asked "do you have a family?" I foolishly replied "yes, I have a sister and a brother and my parents live around here" while my questioner stared at me like I'd just given the most bizarre response ever.

So she has a family? So what? I got family, you got family, every person she wants to displace shifting the schedule around has family.

I think she's cornered the market on arrogance, though.

October 07, 2006 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This woman sounds like a real PITA all right, but I'm a bit surprised by the resentment in some of the comments toward the needs of working women with children. I am a post-doc with a 2-year-old, and I would not have made it through my graduate program were it not for the support of my fellow grad students, who let me bring the baby to my lab and to meetings, gave me space to pump, and even provided free babysitting when I was in a jam. Balancing work/family is infinitely challenging now that my family includes a child than it was when it was just me, my husband, and our pets. It's my choice, and the rewards are enormous, but it can be very stressful. And it would be much more so if I felt people at my job were judging or resenting me (for example, when I have to miss work because my daughter is sick, or when I can't stay past five because I have to pick her up from daycare). There is no ideal time to have a child if you plan to have a career, and I would hope that women would support each other in trying to make their choices as workable as possible.

October 08, 2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Anon - I get that once a woman becomes a mother, she cannot win. In some circles she will be derided for staying at home; in other circles for going to work outside the home. However, I don't really think that leaving at 5:00 or calling in sick when your child is sick is the same as expecting a whole graduate program to revolve around you when you live an hour and a half away, which (in knowing this woman) is really what it's about. Last year she just bitched about the drive, and when our advisor told her to shut it because someone ELSE chose to drive two hours and never complained, I think she decided that this year she'd play the "family card". And by the way, her "kid" is now 13 - still in need of parenting, I agree, but this woman is married and where is her husband? It's not like a 13 year old cannot be left unattended for two minutes without endangering him or herself. Apples and oranges.

October 08, 2006 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have clarified that I wasn't talking about your post and that this woman does sound like a pain but was responding to some of the responses. I agree that it's apples and oranges.

October 08, 2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger redroach said...

Just wanted to say that you kill me.
One of the reasons I teach Jr High is that I find it much less stressing to hear crap like that from a 12 year old than an adult.
I still hate it in Jr. High kids, but at your level, I would kill on a daily basis.

October 09, 2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I would be forced to murder an adult like that.

It is bad enough with jr high kids, but adults with the same behavior and self absorbtion should be mauled.


October 09, 2006 9:10 AM  

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