A lack of forethought on your part should not constitute and emergency on mine

by Janie Jones

I have five different instructors this semester.  They all seem like basically nice people.  Mostly I enjoy the subjects.  But three of the five just can’t seem to get their poop in a group and give consistent and/or advanced information on when and what things need to be done.  I am getting a lot of eleventh hour emails about this assignment or that meeting that need to be added or changed.

Last night, for example.  I got an email apparently at 7:46 pm saying my 10 am lab time needed to be moved to 9:50 am and might run longer than the original time even with moving it up ten minutes.

Unlike most night owls, I was already in bed at this time.  So this morning chances of getting a message to and from the instructor before I actually am now expected to show up are quite slim.  The problem being that as I can’t be at the lab at 9:50 because I have a class that doesn’t end until 9:50, I kinda would like to know if I should even bother to show up.  You know that whole lack of transporters crap kinda makes getting from one place on campus to another a little slower than instantaneous.  Heaven forbid, too, I might need to go to the bathroom or anything.  But if I can’t complete the task in the original time allotted, should we just reschedule?

Now this particular professor is pretty flexible.  I’m 99% sure she won’t make a big deal out of it one way of the other.  Either she’ll be go ahead when ever you get here will be fine, or she’ll be we can just reschedule, no problem.

However, another of the teachers is really good at having assignments scheduled to be due on Mondays, but not providing the assignment information until sometimes late in the afternoon on the Saturday before.  While it is true I spend most of my weekends doing homework, I think it’s pretty crappy that it’s implied that I’ll just be able to drop whatever is going on on Saturday and/or Sunday to make time for an assignment if I already have plans.  Mondays I usually have pretty much open for homework after lunch, but if you don’t know what the assignment entails, it could take a long time, and I don’t want to deliberately wait until Monday afternoon to find out that this thing is going to take 3 or 4 hours when I have other homework to do too.  Let’s be realistic.  If you knew when you handed out the syllabus at the beginning of the class that an assignment would be due on nearly every Monday of the semester, why can’t you get the assignment information out to us more that two days ahead?  Especially if those days are weekend days?

It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine that professors EXPECT you to have no weekend.

And then there’s the professor who is so unprepared that he usually doesn’t post the lab assignment until a few hours before class.  It’s really hard to come prepared for a lab where you will have to make calculations and do a multi-step technique if you only just got the procedure when you walk in the door.  Then it’s a mad rush to figure out what you’re doing and get done on time.  Or, he won’t tell you what he’s discussing in lecture ahead of time.  Normally not so big a deal, but it’s a very small class and he likes to ask the students lots of questions during lecture.  Sometimes there are mammoth pauses or literally guessing games to figure out what answer he is looking for because we had no idea what to prepare.  The second or third week of class I asked if he could possibly put up lecture notes or some outline of what would be discussed in class the night before and he said “No, I’m too busy.”

I have a lot on my plate.  I’m often too busy to do the homework they assign.  I’m often not available to jump through hoops, adjusting my life around their inability to be organized.  And, I am a very organized person.  In order to balance everything I have to do in a day, week, semester, my time has to be budgeted sometimes down to the last minute.  More often than not my time budget is woefully inadequate to do everything I have to do in a respectable manner.  So when other people’s screw ups mess up the delicate balancing act and my limited free time is impinged upon or I lose time at work or on homework assignments I get really mad because their problems have caused me to fail to some degree.  If things out of my control cause too much havoc in my life I end up in a really bad place emotionally.  We are doing everything in our power to keep Janie out of such places, but we can only do so much.

My moral to this story?  Nine-tenths of college is learning to insulate yourself from the incompetence of others, even those who are supposed to know more than you.  The better you can be at not being ruffled by the mistakes of others, the more successful you’ll be.  When you graduate, if you manage to do so and not go postal, you should get an honorary PhD in Bullshit Management.

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