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  • Getting A B(S) Grade
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    Getting A B(S) Grade

    | CO, USA |

    (I am an engineering student giving a presentation with some disappointing partners. The professor we are presenting to is an expert in the field and so likes to ask complex problems to trip people up.)

    Partner: “So… uh … yeah. That’s my report.”

    Professor: “Well what about [doctorate level equation]?”

    Partner: “Uh… uh… um…”

    (At this point I see my partner floundering and attempt to answer as best I could, making it up as I go.)

    Professor: “You have run a business before, haven’t you?”

    Me: “Yes, sir. How did you know?”

    Professor: “Because that was all absolute bulls*** but it was by far the most professional sounding bulls*** I ever heard. I’ll give you the ‘A’ for that.”

    Mom Knows How To Make A Meal Out Of It

    | RI, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Parents, Students

    (I’m stopping by the main college building, where most of the offices and administration are, at the beginning of the school year. At the information/help desk, a mother and her freshman son are bombarding the student employee at the desk with questions. I stand nearby to wait my turn.)

    Mother: “Okay, so how do I check how many dining hall meals my son has on his account?”

    Employee: “Whenever he goes to the dining hall and has his card swiped, he can ask for his meal plan balance.”

    Mother: “No. I want to know how I, MYSELF, can check on his balance.”

    Employee: “…um, I don’t think we have a service like that. Only the student can access that, so you can ask him.”

    Mother: “But how am I supposed to check if he’s eating enough?! I want to keep an eye on his meal plan balance to make sure he’s eating well and often! How do you expect him to do that on his own?!”

    Son: *standing there embarrassed and looking like a kicked puppy*

    (I gave him a sympathetic look, and then decided I was better off coming back later!)


    | Tucson, AZ, USA | Math & Science, Teachers

    (I’m taking math, and we’re talking about functions and how to tell if a graph is a function. We are using a book of sorts and it of course, is asking us if its a function or not. One graph, of course, is all over the place and most definitely does not pass the vertical line test.)

    Teacher: “Is this a function?”

    Class: “No.”

    Teacher: “H***, no! I don’t even know what that is!”

    Incompetent Continent Questions

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Exams/Tests, Extra Stupid, Geography, Teachers

    (Our lecturer is discussing an upcoming test.)

    Lecturer: “Now the test is mostly multiple choice. The questions should be fairly simple; things like ‘what is the capital of Europe?'”

    Me: “…is that supposed to be a simple question?”

    Waxing Philosophical About This

    | Newark, DE, USA | Extra Stupid, Students

    (I am a receptionist at a university’s graduate education office, which processes the paperwork for people getting their Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Most of my job is determining whether students’ problems are something I can easily explain and fix on the computer, or if they’re complicated enough for my boss to handle. Most of the people I talk to are much older than me and extremely condescending.)

    Me: “[University] Office of Graduate and Professional Education. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Hello. I want to talk to [Boss] at the graduate office there. I just got my diploma and it has the WRONG DEGREE on it. I have been working on this Ph.D. for seven years now. I need it for my job, and when I show it to my boss it will say the WRONG DEGREE ON IT.”

    Me: “Okay. I’ll need to check the system to see what program you were enrolled in and what your diploma was issued in. Could I have your name and [University] ID number?”

    Caller: “My name is [Caller]. What’s this ID number now?”

    Me: “Your [University] ID number. It should be on a number of documents we’ve sent, and if there is a problem with your diploma you’ll need it to order a new one. But it’s no problem. I can look up your ID from your name…Yes, found it. You’re [Caller]? Enrolled [Year]?”

    Caller: “Yes, that’s me.”

    Me: “Great! So let me read you the ID number, so that you’ll have it just in case you need to re-order your diploma.”

    Caller: “I don’t really care about that right now. I don’t know if you heard me but my diploma has the WRONG DEGREE on it.”

    Me: “Yes, sir, I understand. I’m looking up your program enrollment and diploma listing in the system so I can figure that out for you. But since you don’t know your ID number, and you will need it if you want to place a new diploma order, I figured I could save you a step and give it to you now. Do you have a pen and paper? It’s a pretty long number.”

    Caller: “Okay, yes, if I’ll need it.” *pause* “Go ahead.”

    Me: *slowly and clearly* “[11-digit ID number]. Do you need me to repeat that?”

    Caller: “Yeah, go ahead.”

    Me: *again slowly and clearly* “[11-digit ID number]. Do you have that?”

    Caller: “Yeah. Now can you look at my transcript please? Because this says the WRONG DEGREE ON IT.”

    Me: “I understand, sir. The system shows that you received your Ph.D. in sociology. Is that incorrect?”

    Caller: “No, no, I’m enrolled in sociology. But this diploma says I have a degree in philosophy. Which I don’t. I need this degree for my JOB, and it has the WRONG DEGREE. I work in the field of SOCIOLOGY.”

    Me: “Oh, dear. Okay, I’ve looked you up in the diploma system, and it does say that your diploma was issued in the field of sociology. Can you tell me exactly what it says on the diploma?”

    Caller: “IT SAYS, [University] and its board of trustees hereby admit [Caller] to the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY. And my degree was in SOCIOLOGY. That’s no good, I can’t show that to my boss!”

    Me: *starting to understand the problem* “Sir, does it say ‘sociology’ anywhere on your diploma?”

    Caller: “Yes, but it says it after philosophy. Like it was some kind of minor or something!”

    Me: “So your diploma says ‘Doctor of Philosophy in sociology?'”

    Caller: “YES! And I need a Ph.D. in SOCIOLOGY to get this promotion!”

    Me: “Sir, ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ means a Ph.D. That’s what Ph.D. stands for. I’s an abbreviation for ‘Doctor of Philosophy.’ Your diploma says that you have a Ph.D. in sociology. Don’t worry. Your boss will understand that your degree is in sociology and not philosophy. I know it’s confusing because philosophy is also a subject that—”

    Caller: “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. I HAVE TO SHOW THIS. TO MY BOSS. Just let me talk to [Boss]. She’ll fix all of this.”

    Me: “Sir, I can assure you that she will give you the exact same information I gave you. Your diploma says you have a Ph.D. — or Doctorate of Philosophy — in sociology. It just says it the long way.”

    Caller: “Just let me talk to Dr. [Boss]! Dr. [Boss]! Dr. [BOSS]!”

    Me: “Sir, if I could just—”

    Caller: “Dr. [BOSS]! Dr. [BOSS]! Dr. [BOSS]!!!”

    Me: “Sir, she’s in a meeting.”

    Caller: *calmly* “Oh. Then I guess I’ll just reorder my diploma. Can I do that through you?”

    Me: “Sir, when you reorder your diploma, it will say the exact same thing: Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D., IN SOCIOLOGY. I just want to let you know that before you spend $86 on a new diploma.”

    Caller: “Oh, forget I asked. I just found diploma re-order on the [University] website by myself. Well, you said I’m in the diploma system now as sociology, so if I reorder it, I’m sure it’ll go through as sociology. I have to show this to my boss, you know.”

    (I can hear him typing in the background.)

    Me: “Um, yes, sir, but—”

    Caller: “[University] ID number? Oh, yeah. Could you read me that number again, please? I didn’t write it down the first time; I thought I could just put it in my memory. I have a Ph.D., you know!”

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