Saturday, April 28, 2007

Academic traumas?

This time of year always makes me think about the worst academic trauma I had...

I was a freshman at BN state University. I was doing well in an American lit course. Nobody told me about the published finals schedule, but every instructor told me when the final was. One day I was about 5 minutes late to American Lit. On the board was "Final Exam, Wednesday, 1:00"... I wrote it down and listened to the lecture.

Fast forward to finals week. I show up on Wednesday at 1:00 -- but, it isn't my class taking the final.

I freak out... I went to the office of the American Lit prof, who at first didn't believe me. When I showed him my notes with the date, he agreed to a make-up exam, I did it and then he never recorded it.

When I got my grade, which was much lower than it should have been I called him. He denied ever making such a deal and refused to change my grade. He didn't believe me and couldn't remember talking with me 3 weeks prior...

Sadly, I also didn't know about grade challenge procedures, student advocates or anything else...

In retrospect, I'm sure the lazy-ass American Lit guy simply failed to erase the board from the class before him.

The grade remains on my transcript to this day and is the reason that I'm very clear about when the final exam is.

care to share your academic traumas?


Cptn. Backfire said...

this one time, I got really drunk and forgot to show up to a test. I'd explain in more depth what I'm talking about, but I'm not sure which one of the 4 times that has happened this year would provide the best example.

lucky for me, my teachers are very understanding of "over-sleeping cause I was up late writing papers"

StyleyGeek said...

In my second year of undergrad I won a scholarship to go and study in Germany for a semester. Unfortunately the start of the semester overlapped with the exam period at our university. I had one final exam that was scheduled five days after I was meant to have started in Germany.

I applied to sit the exam overseas, which was denied. I appealed and they overturned the decision. I made arrangements with the consulate to have the exam papers shipped over and to sit the exam there.

When I arrived in Germany I called the consulate and they said the papers hadn't arrived yet, but that they were expecting them in the next day or two.

The day before the exam, I called them again and they said they still weren't there. I rang the university in NZ (after waiting for the 12 hour time difference to be a more reasonable time of day). I couldn't get hold of anyone who knew what was going on, but they assured me that if I had been given permission to do this, then the papers would probably arrive by diplomatic bag on the morning before the exam. (Which it already was). Failing that, on the day of the exam itself.

They never arrived. When I finally was able to get hold of someone with authority to check the admin records, they swore that the only decision recorded was the one that rejected my application to sit the exam overseas.

I think I cried solidly for four days. (The final exam was worth 60% of the mark, and it was in my major subject, so I had to pass to be able to continue on in my degree).

Upon returning to NZ, I discovered that the prof, fortunately, remembered that the decision had been overturned so was able to help me convince admin of this fact. In the end they just doubled my mark for the in-class work, so I still did well. But I am traumatised to this day.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Captain B -- you really are lucky they are understanding... you should send each one a little thank-you for being a good person card after your grades come out!

Styley -- how awful -- it seems as if there is a lot of government interference in the situation... like the instructor would have given the exam early or something, but was not allowed to do so? If it were me, I'd have told you to come in the day before you leave, given you an essay exam different from what the class got and submitted your grade.... This is a situation that you got into via GOOD academics, it shouldn't harm you in a course you are currently doing.