Most of the time, experiences at institutions of higher learning are often pretty crappy. And, let’s face it we put up with it for our degrees and to advance our careers (if we get hired) and our livelihoods. I’d assume professors have similar reasoning (or maybe they actually love teaching).
In any case, the following Redditors share the moments that almost pushed them over the edge.
Curious of more stories? You can find the original source at the end of the article.
“I was assigned a project to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and write an essay on what it was like.
Super odd invasion of privacy. We were supposed to either not say why we were there or to “just pretend” to be an alcoholic.
My dad used to drink a lot and I took the assignment personally. I couldn’t even look at it. A few students straight up refused to do it. I ended up giving my friend some a small amount of Mary Jane to make up some b.s essay for me.”
“I tanked my grade point average due to missing half a semester for a health issue. I was allowed to appeal to the dean and basically get my grades tossed (I woulda been out the tuition but my GPA would have survived), however I had to have all my professors sign off that they agreed the appeal was justified.
One professor refused to agree on the appeal and I wasn’t allowed to turn it in.”
“My advanced Japanese language professor dictated that we could not speak English at all during the class, or we would have marks taken away. This was fine, until one day a girl started coughing up blood and we all stopped to make sure she was okay and help her out. The professor then took marks off because we spoke in English. I’m still freaking angry.
There were 13 people in the class, all of us disputed this when we became aware they’d be taken away (we were informed during the next lecture). The lecturer took a voluntary leave of absence, I’m not sure if he’s back at the university because I graduated before he could have come back.”
“I had swine flu BAD in 2010. As in, I had to have a friend drive me to the hospital and the doctor had to give me codeine cough medicine while I swore I would quarantine myself until I felt better – bad.
I was taking organic chemistry in a class of close to 200 people and had a big exam the next day. I somehow managed to contact my professor while in a haze to ask if I could reschedule, especially since I had a doctors note.
He flat out refused, and insisted I show up for the exam or Id fail the test, basically ensuring I wouldnt get the grade I needed for the class (I was in a very competitive undergraduate program).
I finally talked him into letting me take the exam in his office before class the next day. I dont know how, but I managed to get a B on the test…and who ended up with swine flu the next week? Thats right, my O-chem professor and he had to take an entire week off. Karma.”
“I got a failing score on a lab report even though me and the rest of the group thought we did everything in the rubric. We went to our teaching assistant’s office hours later to ask about the score. She basically reversed all subtracted points because she was taking off points for things we had done correctly. The next year one of my lab mates got a grading position with that same TA. She admitted to him that half way through the year she stopped paying attention to the reports and assigned random scores.
WHAT THE HECK that was a college level course for our major. You can’t do that.”
“I got a C- in a third year Chemistry class because my ‘cover page didn’t have enough pizzazz.’
THAT’S WHAT THE PROF WROTE ON MY PAPER. I was 21 at the time.”
“I did event management at university a few years ago. Our lecturer brought in her 8-year-old daughter, who had been a stage show once, to ‘teach us’ about stage management.
Almost all of the class didn’t turn up to the next lecture in protest.
I understand daycare and babysitters are expensive, but so is my education. I completely wasted 2 years of my life at that university before transferring in my 3rd year. When I transferred it turned out I knew so little because they hadn’t actually taught us the stuff we needed to know.”
“I missed a quiz due to a medical emergency and had the documentation of my emergency room visit and everything. I emailed my teacher’s assistant (our quizzes were during discussion sections led by our TA’s) about making up the quiz.
The TA told me to email the professor because it’s his class policies. I emailed the professor who then told me to email the TA because the TA is the one who administered the quiz.”
“When my supervisor decided that I needed to completely rewrite my masters thesis for publication to an angle that was complete nonsense and unpublishable.
She gave me an ultimatum so I refused to work with her. She delayed and blocked the examination of my thesis for 2.5 years until the university removed her from my project after going through the research committee and finding I’d done the work necessary and she was incompetent, selfish and spiteful.
I won’t get back into research or worked on getting my papers published because I’ve been traumatized by this. I dropped from a PhD and I’ll never know where I’d be today if I’d had a competent instructor all along.
At the same time I’m really glad I’m no longer putting myself through the academic washing machine. I’m so much happier now then I’ve ever been.”
“Background: There are 2 colleges in my town, one university and one community college. I chose community college because it was cheaper to attend.
English 101: Write a 3-page creative piece on why you chose this community college.
So, not knowing how to stretch “it’s cheaper than university” into 3 pages, I wrote about how I struggled with menial jobs my whole life and wanted a better future for me and my family. I was actually pretty proud of it. Classic “overcoming hardship” story.
The teacher hands it back with a C and says I didn’t answer the question. I flipped. I circled the “creative writing” portion of the assignment sheet and stapled my graded paper to it and gave it to the department head and dean of the college.
The teacher was replaced mid-semester due to ‘medical issues’ and I assume I wasn’t the first one to complain about her. Screw her.”
“I was fairly confident about a final exam I had taken, but when I checked my grade it was a 56%. I spoke to the professor and asked him to take a second look, but he refused and said it was obvious that I just hadnt put in the effort. I finally convinced him to recheck it, and it turned out that only one side of my answer sheet had been scanned.
My actual grade was a 94. Thankfully he changed my grade to the correct score, but it was still frustrating.”
“I asked a question and the teacher ignored me.
Minutes later, a different student asked the same question and the teacher said ‘good question’ and answered it enthusiastically.”
“I remember in a philosophy class at university on the first day of the course, the professor went over the course structure, grading scheme, and syllabus with us, but no philosophy yet (it was the first day).
After he was done he asked the class if they had any questions.
Someone put their hand up, he called on them, and they said,
‘Yea, what is truth?’
I cringed a bit, looked at them, and they had this smug look on their face and they were dead serious. I cringed even harder with the knowledge that they thought this was an appropriate question.
It was as if they expected the professor to throw his hands up in amazement, and shout out ‘Finally! A true philosopher!’ “
“I just recently bought a $300 (loose-leaf!) textbook for math. Now this isnt any higher level math, its college algebra. Something everyone at my school has to take. Of course its written by my professor and of course it ‘changes’ every year. I took it out of the shrink wrap and saw that the book was approximately 150 pages. I leafed through it and saw that it was literally NOTHING. There was hardly any information in it, there were like two practice problems per topic and a glossary.
The real information comes from a $100 access code that has more practice problems and actual information needed to complete the class. So now Im out of $300 dollars on a FREAKING PAPERWEIGHT and $450 on one. general. education. class. Theres nothing that can be done at this point. I cant get a refund, all I can hope for is pawning it off to some unsuspecting student for likely less than half of what I paid for it.
After writing this, Im all angry again. Screw you Professor J. I need to go lie down.
“I was docked 10% off a final essay because I had the wrong date so it wasn’t following MLA standards.
I put the date I submitted instead of the date it was due. I got a 90% on the paper.”
“I had a professor who had serious mental issues. This guy was just a raging maniac with the scariest explosive temper. The smallest things would set him off. For instance, this one girl had a bunch of papers stacked on her desk and he asked her what it was and she politely informed him that she was a teacher’s assistant and they were tests that she was going to grade later. It’s not like she was grading them in class, she was taking notes and being quite, it just happened to be on her desk, he shouted at her to put it away. He would get angry when anyone asked any questions. He almost threw a chair at someone and yelled profanities.
Everyone was scared of him. So myself and another student spoke to the dean under condition of anonymity since we were still in his class. The dean disclosed our names to him and our looney prof started cold calling us and he gave me a B instead of an A because my class participation was abysmal even though I made an A on every test and quiz. No body wanted to speak in his class anyway. The whole thing was aggravating.
There are people at the company I work for who have been fired for less. My brother is a college professor now and he says the world of academia has its share of arrogant egotistical pricks. But of course there are also nice ones.
“I’m a professor.
Normally I try to be understanding if students are just taking my class because it’s a requirement, so they’re rusty on some things.
But once when I was teaching Calculus II, a student asked “What’s a derivative?” I actually gave a very quick answer, along the lines of ‘A derivative is a function that measures the rate of change of another function’ but come on. This is Calculus II, the course that comes after Calculus I, and Calculus I is all about derivatives.
It’s like going to watch the World Series at someone’s house and asking ‘What sport is the World Series again?’ “
Points are edited for clarity.