Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School Reluctance

Let me say right off the bat that I have been called a nerd in the past because of my LOVE of all things academic. I love being in school and if I could I would be a professional student.
Having said that, I have to admit that I am NOT excited at ALL about the fall semester starting.

I am working on my masters degree. The program has been offered by the University of Northern British Columbia in a cohort in my community. The classes have been on weekends and in the summer months and it has been possible to be in the program while working full time. This has been an incredible opportunity without which it would not have been possible for me to get a masters degree at this point in my life. About a year and a half ago I made a HUGE mistake. (So if I were ever on a Miss universe competition and I was asked the question "What is one big mistake you've made in your life, and what did you do to make it right?" I would be able to answer better than Miss Philippines and not cost myself the competition.)

I was enrolled in a stats class. At the same time as I was enrolled I encountered somewhat of a health scare and I thought I would be undergoing a surgery and recovery that would for all purposes interrupt the class. So I dropped it. HUGE MISTAKE. I should never have dropped it. As it happens I did not get the surgery, but even if I HAD, I should have stuck it out, made up the assignments with the instructor and gotten the hell out of Dodge.

What happened instead is that I have had to make up the class. This class make-up has turned into a nightmare. One of the program advisors from BC is a stats instructor. Arrangements were made for him to teach me independently the course material over the computer and the phone. Attempt one: The guy completely forgot about me because he was too busy. I made NUMEROUS attempts to reach him by phone and by email and when he finally did get back to me he apologised for the delay and suggested we try again in the next semester.
Attempt two: I purchased the text,the instructor sent me power points of his lectures and a list of assignments and sent me on my merry way. I did not do them. I felt as though it was a "teach yourself graduate level Stats" and I didn't even try to get them done.
I met my advisor and let her know the arrangement was not to my liking and something else needed to be done so I could finish the class. I am pretty much willing to do anything needed because I messed up, but the whole idea of "independent study" was not working.
Attempt three: There is a class of stats being taught this fall in which I can register. So I have registered for the class. which bring me to the point of my reluctance.

Irritant number one: The class is being taught in a location which is an 8 hour drive from where I live - maybe longer. The class is being taught on Friday nights and Saturdays so I have to miss work Friday to get there and then either drive back after class on Saturday or stay until Sunday and drive back on Sunday. As far as I know there are 8 installments of the class. The drive is a pain, but I can do it. Taking time off work is a pain, but I can do that also. Staying in a hotel is ok, but a financial inconvenience. This overall irritation is mild, but may increase when the weather turns bad.

Irritant number two and the main source of my overall reticence: The instructor teaching the class is the same one that the independent study has failed with twice. I have tried to reach him to find out the dates, location and times of the class and he has not returned my calls or emails. Yesterday I called the admin support for the program to get the information and her response to me was "I spoke to the instructor and he said you have the information."
Really? Would that be why I am calling again? Let's pretend for a minute I DID have it and I am calling again for the fun of it, would it be possible to say - GET IT FOR ME PLEASE?
For all I know there is a class this weekend which is when school begins for most people. I would like to know by maybe, Friday morning if I have to be ready to drive 8 hours and be there in time for classes.
I don't know if I have pissed this guy off or what the story is. I know that I failed to do the independent study once, but if we are keeping score then he failed once also. I thought I had made it pretty clear I am willing to go to some length to make up for the fact I dropped the stupid class in the first place. I am NOT looking forward to a semester of work with this dude.
I think that is the first time in the history of my life I am not looking forward to school starting.
Woe is me, but at least I understand that the path to success is paved with blood, sweat and pure bile. This class must be the pure bile part of that journey.


Dan Schwent said...

Your reluctance is understandable. My girlfriend's been working on her Master's for two years now and all but two of her instructors have been tremendous flakes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear you are having such a rough time of it Julie. I am sure this professor is just an ass like most others. What are you doing your Masters in?

Teena in Toronto said...

I commend you for doing this ... stats is soooo not my bag.