At my school we have GURs—General University Requirements—that must be completed for graduation. Students must take courses in various subject areas like science and math. Since I was trying to get my math requirement out of the way, I registered for Math 112 because I didn’t need to take a placement test to get in. I figured it would be easy.

But noooooo. In this class the TAs deducted points for no good reason, just like Mr. Smith did in high school. On one exam you needed to name the variables in a problem about planting some tree and I wrote “H = height of tree.” To normal teachers who don’t sip Hater-ade before correcting tests, this makes sense. These TA graders, however, stole a whole damn point because they wanted me to put “H = height of tree in inches.” Can you believe that minuscule shit?

And when you really didn’t know how to do something you were even more screwed because you were already losing points for things you shouldn’t have been losing points for. Tests were full of double negatives like that. A few of my friends had to take the course twice. I was hot like fire every time I got a test or quiz back. I ended up with a B+ though.

That same quarter I had environmental science. Overall, the professor was pretty cool and got me interested in the course material. He answered questions with lots of description and had lots of extra credit opportunities. What was upsetting about him—and he’s the only professor who has done this—is he would put things on the test he said in lecture that didn’t have to do with the class. Irrelevant shit unrelated to the material.

On our second exam, for instance, one of his stupid jokes was in the true and false section. When a student asked about it, his response was, “You’d get it if you were in class.”

I wanted to backhand him. I came to class every day because, for me, class time is dollars spent, and I’m not about to waste a single cent, and I didn’t know the answer. He was a good guy, but it’s not like every single thing that came out of his mouth during lecture was important—especially random jokes—and it was pretentious of him to think so.

Ajane’ Burnley is a junior at Western Washington University. Her 20th birthday was on Easter this year and she bought a yellow North Face vest. She knows sleeping in class is a waste of tuition but sometimes the Econ professor talks too much. Writing is one of the things she enjoys most, and she should make more time to write that science fiction novel. It features a young Black female heroine, because she says so.


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