The Continuing Travails of Our Hero

I’ve been getting hundreds of e-mails daily from my fellow OPMers inquiring about my chemistry status, so I thought I’d drop in and fill everyone in at once.
Since the first test, which I bombed horribly, I have been putting in an average of six hours a day on this chem crap. I get up at 4:30 and study until 7:30 and then drive over to the school (an hour away). In class, I usually just fill a space until I can get home and consult the 4 other chemistry books I have and try and figure out this mess.
We took our second test on Monday. I made a 65 – 15 points higher than the class average of 50. In fact, I would’ve had a 75, but I ran out of time. I was calculating the free energy of a reaction, and the prof called time. I had found the enthalpy, and so the prof gave me a third of the credit. Had I finished the problem, I would’ve gotten all 10 points. I screwed up on some of the nomenclature simply due to fatigue, which was disheartening because I would’ve scored even higher on the test if I’d gotten those.
I’ve been kicking out the jams on the quizzes, doing well above the class average on them. Today’s quiz, however, I didn’t do well on. I’m so exhausted that I couldn’t even think, and the quiz was sort of a review quiz; it was material that I know, but I just didn’t have the brain power to work through.
Today’s lecture was surreal. It was devoted to biochemistry. In addition to having to know the organic stuff I’ve never had but am expected to know, now I have biochemistry to contend with. Oy!
I’m meeting with some other students this afternoon to go over this. Hopefully they can set me straight. Thursday is the final exam.
As for the prof, I’ve figured out that he enjoys his daily ego trip by presenting the information in what I feel is the most difficult fashion. Our text is a joke. The other three chemistry books I have are much better at explaining things. But anyway, I get back at the prof by blowing his ego. Yesterday, when he handed out the quizzes, I took mine, looked it over, and smirked at him. He said, “What does that mean?” I said, “You have a quiz that isn’t for simpletons?” He looked shocked, and then I blew it out of the water. 100 percent. Another day, when I was working on the quiz, he walked by to ensure that I wasn’t cheating, and I pulled a Vince Vaughn and said, “Good quiz.” And on another quiz, I looked up, noticed that he was looking in my general direction, and I gave him two thumbs up. My biggest coup was when he spoke of earning his PhD at Purdue. I said, “I heard that was a diploma mill.” I can only imagine what is going through his head when I do these things.
Yesterday I asked a question about reaction mechanisms, and he said, “You’ll have to master this if you ever expect to attend medical school.” The word “attend” was dripping with sarcasm. I bit my tongue short of asking him what medical school he attended since he was dispensing advice on medical school cirricula.
I probably sound surly today.
I’m off to the wars.

Oh my god–your chem class sounds like it's as horrible as my MATH class this summer! Where else on OPM have you talked about this class? I mean, under what heading? I haven't been keeping up with the posts lately because I've been studying vector calculus 8 hours a day, but I want to read more about this, so please clue me in. It's a summer class, right? When is your final?
Our class got our third midterm back today. The median was a 49/100–a whopping 9 points above the last test. Our prof thought this one was easy. Anyway, I know how you must feel. Hang in there. We will survive these awful classes.

QUOTE (Ash-O-Rama @ Jul 31 2003, 05:20 PM)

Yesterday I asked a question about reaction mechanisms, and he said, "You'll have to master this if you ever expect to attend medical school."

And for what it's worth, I have yet to have seen a mechanism in med school. I keep waiting for the chance to show off all I know about Grignard reactions, but I'm losing hope. smile.gif

When I was an undergraduate I had a chem prof like this, who to make even worse, was also the pre-med advisor - and he seemed to hate pre-meds!
Just be careful that you don't make such as enemy of him with your comments and facial expressions that he finds a way to get back to you on your grade - the goal is to win your objective of getting a decent grade and get into med school.
My sympathy and good luck with the rest of the summer.

laugh.gif I laughed when I saw the title of your thread! Your prof sounds like a major league asshole. I hope you make it through unscathed. BTW, another OPMer is having similar problems with a professor. It's under another thread, I think.

I was a salesman for quite a few years before I got into information technology.
One of the things that I remember, and took with me when I moved on is that every person you interact with can help or hinder. The lady ringing up your sale at K-Mart, the student aid sitting at the admissions/records desk at school, your boss, and of course your chemistry professor.
Every one of these people comes into the picture with experiences, habits and feelings about the role you fill in their eyes (customer, employee, student) and is predisposed to treat you a certain way.
A tiny bit of social engineering can go a long way towards greasing the wheels in any relationship. If you can show that in some small way you empathize with a person they'll often go a little bit further to help.
Just my two cents.

QUOTE (Laramisa @ Aug 1 2003, 06:44 AM)
Just be careful that you don't make such as enemy of him with your comments and facial expressions that he finds a way to get back to you on your grade - the goal is to win your objective of getting a decent grade and get into med school.

Hey Ash,
I too am sorry about the dipwad of an instructor that you have. However, please head Laramisa's advice. I've gone head to head with a couple of professors in my life and I've always lost. It sucks rocks but they have got a good deal more of the power. I just keep thinking to myself how much it will annoy these individuals to know that I have succeeded despite there best efforts. At least that is what I tell myself. Good Luck!!!

Yeah, you may be burning your bridges…tread carefully.

Sorry to hear Chem is such a bitch for you. It was for me too, and I didn't do any better on that section of the MCAT (5!) so I will be repeating the MCAT in 2 weeks. Just be careful. The pre-med advisor at my school has been a real bastard with me, not talking to me directly, not taking me seriously, and asking questions, that in an interview setting, would be considered illegal. Yet I remain calm and polite around him because I know in the long run he can screw me more than he already has. Why do you think tenure was invented? So those sadomasochists could skewer students to their hearts' content. Its a grand protection for those few sickos! Take care, and give my regards to Jenifer. Kathy

Yikes! People can be such jerks!

Hey Ash,
You have to FOCUS, Focus, focus on the material that you have to master. Try very hard to separate the information from the informant. Listen very carefully to each lecture and try to glean what you need while letting the aside comments fall on deaf ears. You are going to encounter professors like this in medical school so this can be good practice in getting what you need and letting go of the extra crap.
Try to pre-read as much as possible. Look at the major headings and look at the types of problems that you will have to answer. Run things through in several directions. If you preview as much as possible, your mind will pick up the major topics and put them together. If you have good books that explain things in ways that you can understand, let your mind listen to the lectures and go for the material that you need as you have pre-read and already have a basic understanding of the upcoming lecture.
Do not fight battles that you can’t win. In the end, this professor can hit you with a low grade and even the Dean cannot change it. If this is a tenured professor, BEWARE!!! ohmy.gif Remember the line from TopGun: " Goose, Who’s ass did you kiss to get into Top Gun?" “The list is long but distinguished.” If you have to “Eat S–T to get what you need to get into medical school, do it.” The last man standing (make that you sitting in freshman medical classes) is the one who wins. Another TopGun line: " Your ego is writing checks that you body can’t cash." This person can cause you far more damage than you can do to him so behave yourself and keep rocking on the quizzes and exams. rolleyes.gif In the end, this prof may teach you far more than you imagined.

My dear friend…you know me. I am generally the first in line for confrontation. Perversely, I enjoy them…not too damned many things I am afraid of & I never run from a battle (too fat! I’m better off taking a few swings). But, in order to facilitate my successes, I had to learn to choose my battles wisely & bite my tongue when appropriate. To put this bluntly & crassly >>> Never, never, never pooh-pooh where you eat!!! Yes, your professor may be a crappy one & yes, he may be seeking out an alpha-male confrontation…but in the interest of preserving your journey, you might wish to consider diplomacy. Another old & wise addage comes to mind - give someone enough rope & they will hang themselves…my friend, he may just be feeding you rope whilst you happily tie the hangman’s knot for him.
Be confident & know your stuff. But please do not undermine what you have worked so hard to accomplish out of frustration with someone who cannot teach. I think you may be unconsciously rechanneling your frustration at how hard you are working toward this guy. Do not give him the satisfaction of derailing you.

Thursday is the final, and I've been studying with some others. I am continuing to make the equivalent of A's on the quizzes since I last wrote.
Today's quiz was a personal breakthrough. The quiz was all about application, and I (gasp) applied knowledge to the quiz. It was a marvelous feeling.
As for the evil prof, things have mellowed out. I heeded advice from all of you and checked my own frustration at the door and just held on to my cool. Yesterday, he reamed out my lab group, and basically called my lab partner an idiot. I viewed it as one of those rare moments when a person shucks off his sheep's clothing and exposes himself for the wolf that he truly is. It was wonderful. I went home and slept like a baby all night. I got up this morning around 6:30 instead of four, gave myself an hour to refresh myself on what I thought was the quiz material, and drove over. I made a 7/8 on it.
Thanks for all the much-needed advice.