Thursday, July 24, 2014


I know that a lot of people have to work and go to school. And I know some of the stupid rules of financial aid can make it harder to go to school part time.

But for the love of all that's good, I'm just so TIRED of people with lives where their education is their very last priority. I had someone this semester who skipped class several times because he could "pick up a good shift" at the place where he worked....and of course, I am reminded exactly WHICH days those were when I grade the exams he took, because that's where his score tanks. (He wound up failing the class. And this was one of those "But I always earned As in the past in classes!" people).

And I had a couple people go on vacation. Yeah. A vacation they had scheduled knowing full well they were taking summer classes. I tried to work with them (gotta keep the enrollment up) but it was frustrating. I don't get much in the way of "days off" during the summer semester, and having to do stuff like arrange for makeup labs and makeup exams takes even more time.

I realize how fortunate I was as a student: I had just barely enough money to pay my tuition and my room and board. Not a lot of extras, not a lot of frivolities, and I did stuff like getting my shoes re-soled to avoid having to buy new ones. But at least I didn't have to work. (I did, for a little while, a few hours a week in a dorm cafeteria, so I had money to go to the movies and stuff. But I never worked more than 10 hours a week, and the dorm was really excellent about scheduling shifts around my class schedule. And if it had interfered with studying, I would have quit).

I know a lot of our students aren't in that boat - they have families to support or things like that. But we also get a certain percentage who whine about how "hard" they have to work and when you talk to them, you find out they don't have any dependents, but they have a big fancy pickup truck, and a new iPhone, and they want to go to the tropics for Spring Break, and and and. And there comes a point where my sympathy for those people dies: you're making a choice. You could cut back on hours at work and not have all those fancy things and do better in school and not have junk happen like sleeping through an exam-time and then harassing your professor into relenting and letting you take the exam late.

I don't know. Part of it is a sour grapes issue on my part: there's a lot of things I would WANT to do but don't because my responsibilities get in the way and I won't shirk my responsibilities. And there are things I might WANT to buy but then I look at my TIAA-CREF statement or my Vanguard statement and start calculating out how much I still need to be able to retire (and hope and pray there's not hyperinflation) and then figure I'm better off without whatever it is. But I get frustrated with being responsible when I see people NOT being so, and especially when their lack of responsibility means more work on my part.

I suppose I need to be tougher, and tell people, "You made your bed, now lie in it" when someone shirks class stuff and then comes crying to me for an extension or something. I usually am, actually, but with things like missed tests, it's hard and it's kind of painful to tell someone, "No, yes, I know you slept through it, but sorry. No." And then get some kind of sob story about how HARD their life is. (It's the nagging, it's the constant stream of reasons and excuses, that wears me out. Just accept my "No," okay? You understand "No means No" in other areas of your life, right? Then why not accept it from your prof?)

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