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  • Time To Assay The Essay Situation, Part 4
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  • Word To The Wise

    | Germany | Crazy Requests, Language & Words, Teachers

    (I study English at a German university. Classes are held completely in English. Sometimes the professors treat us like idiots, even though most of us have been learning English since the fifth grade)

    Professor: “Now there are some words in this poem I’m sure most of you don’t know. Has anyone looked up what a ‘scythe’ is?”

    Me: “It’s a [German word].”

    Professor: “Very good! And what is plowing?”

    Me: “It’s [German word].”

    (I continue to answer his next five questions about translating words.)

    Professor: “Well, I see at least one has prepared for this lesson. Did you look the words up online or in an old-fashioned dictionary?”

    Me: “Neither? I mean, I knew what the words meant.”

    Professor: “What do you mean you knew? Where did you look it up?”

    Me: “I didn’t look it up. I knew the words because I’ve probably heard them before in the past years or had them explained to me. I don’t remember for every single word.”

    Professor: “You’re supposed to look up difficult words you don’t know! Did you even prepare for class?”

    Me: “”I knew the words! I didn’t have to look them up!

    Professor: “You probably didn’t even get most of this poem if you didn’t look up the words!”

    Me: “I just told you what all of them mean. How could I not understand the poem if I knew every word?”

    Professor: “You’re supposed to look up difficult words!”

    (I gave up. From then on when he asked where I knew a word from I simply told him I looked it up online. He never complained again.)

    In The Right Class, Relatively Speaking

    | NY, USA | Awesome, Math & Science, Teachers

    (I got my BA in physics and have just started grad school. I’m still doing physics, but I’m in the electrical engineering department. It’s my first semester and I’ve been having some trouble with some terms that electrical engineers use slightly differently. After class I go up to the professor to ask him a question.)

    Me: “When you talk about the ‘total energy’ of an electron are you including the .511 MeV of electron rest mass energy in your total energy?”


    Me: “You know, rest mass. I was always taught that an electron had .511 MeV of rest mass energy. Even if it was at absolute zero it still had that energy.”

    Professor: “Wait, you mean like e=mc^2? Relativistic mass?! No! Why would you even— What did you get your degree in, physics?!”

    Me: “Yes, actually!”

    Professor: *smiling* “Get out! What are you doing here? You belong in the high energy physics building. Go!” *makes shooing motions*

    Me: *laughing* “But—”

    Professor: “Go!”

    Me: *leaves, still laughing*

    (After that he had a much easier time answering my questions, since he realized where I was coming from. He also asked me several times if I was sure I didn’t want to switch back to physics. He even offered to talk to some of his friends in the physics department and fix it up for me, which was very sweet of him.)

    Take That Question With A Pinch Of Salt

    | Provo, UT, USA | Extra Stupid, Math & Science, Students

    (I am in a college level honors biology class. We’ve been discussing alkali metals, which are highly reactive elements like sodium and potassium.)

    Student #1: “So if I put pure sodium and pure chlorine together, will it make salt?”

    Professor: “Yes, but don’t ever do that. It would be a very dangerous and expensive way to make salt.”

    Student #2: “If salt is so dangerous and expensive to make, why is it so cheap at the grocery store?”

    They’re All Getting Higher

    , | NC, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Dorms, Students

    (As I’m entering the lobby of my dorm, I see someone go into an elevator and manage to catch it. Usually, since the elevators are small, whoever is closest to the buttons will press them for everyone else.)

    Me: “Third floor?”

    Guy: “Sorry, I’m going to the fourth floor.” *blank stare*

    Me: “Would you push the button for third, please?”

    (Just as the doors are closing, someone rushes up noisily in the lobby.)


    (We open the door and a girl holding several party balloons squeezes in. She looks at the floor buttons, nods to herself, and then turns to the guy.)

    Girl: “Hey, I know you! You’re that really tall guy!”

    (Every day here is just as weird.)

    The Final Word In Finals

    | St. Paul, MN, USA | Awesome, Exams/Tests, Teachers

    (I am in a media-related course for my major. It is finals week and my classmates and I are in one of the computer lab spaces waiting for our professor to give us the exam.)

    Professor: “I’m going to give you a choice. You can either take this exam and take the grade you get, or you can not take the exam, keep the grade you have now, and come eat lunch and watch [Online News Broadcast] with me in the studio.”

    (We all checked our grades and decided to have lunch with him and watch the newscast. Best. Final. Ever.)

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