Sunday, May 13, 2007

It's Never Easy

Remind me to never again celebrate the end of the semester before the semester actually ends. I am convinced that it was a trip to a local restaurant to celebrate the end of classes that is responsible for my fate - the end of the semester from hell.

First, there was the student who accused me of not offering him enough opportunities to do well and asked for make-ups - on the last day of class. Then there were the repeated emails asking again about the final paper and the endless meetings - does this sound okay, how about this, what exactly do you want?

But, as if it was their responsibility to remind me that I wasn't yet off the hook, there were the two students with last minutes requests to proofread their drafts. The first arrived almost 36 hours before it was due. At our meeting this morning, to discuss my feedback, the student looked so sad that it wasn't perfect and he had more work to do, and stunned that I noticed that he'd increased the font, and the margins, and conveiently stuck extra spaces between the paragraphs (like I was never an undergrad, they let me skip right to my PhD program?!).

The second student sent her paper just over 24 hours before the due date. She requested that if I couldn't meet with her late this afternoon (which I can't, imagine that!), that I just send my comments to her via email because she really wants to do well on this paper, but her finance final has to take priority right now.

Finally, this afternoon, with all those monkeys off my back, one of my star-students walked into my office. The end is near, I thought, and what a nice way to end it. She smiled and made small talk and handed me her paper, almost 20 hours before it was due. I smiled back, said goodbye, and sat down to read "a good paper." Well, the paper wasn't that good, and the one sentence that really nailed the particular subject matter stood out like a sore thumb. I googled it, and up it came, verbatim, written by an old colleague from my graduate program.

I only have ONE MORE DAY until the semester ends. Please, just let it end in peace.