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And the semester is underway.

This term one of the classes I am grappling with is Medieval Lit and all the related Middle English inherent therein. I am stuffing my head full of vowel sounds that feel unnatural and archaic letters and confusing pronouns. And my prof is a self-admitted hard ass–which, I will own up to, I am enough of a nerd to be glad of. Last semester I had a prof who was Easy, capital E, and while he seems to be beloved in the department I am not sure what’s to love about someone who gives you–and everyone else–an A rather than engage with you to try to make your work better. That class was all around utterly unsatisfying, and I felt gypped.

Which is why a class in which the professor makes it clear on day one that she has high standards and that a curve does not exist, therefore you receive the grade you earn makes me happy. Are my priorities messed up here? I want to learn, to engage with ideas; I want success to be harder than showing up for class and turning in one paper. It’s graduate school, for fuck’s sake–isn’t it supposed to be a challenge?

Maybe I am really wired wrong, and I should appreciate a curve, but when it comes down to it I feel like a curve is a waste of my tuition dollars. aren’t I there to be evaluated as I am, rather than as I fall along a curve of my peers? As an adult, I feel insulted by a curve. For undergrad classes filled with non-majors I get a curve. It makes sense in that context, or at least more sense than in a graduate seminar where you are supposed to be getting prepared for a life in academia.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that I am almost relieved to be in a class with a stickler. Because with a stickler you always know where you stand. You know what is expected. And I am really looking forward to all of it.

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