Friday, July 13, 2007

Angry school

gSooooo. It's been an interesting week. I bombed my first Limits (and Infinite Series hereafter referred to as Limits) quiz and when I went to talk to my prof about a question I had gotten wrong he first pissed me off a little by asking me if I understood things I had gotten right! Obviously I understood them. Then as I was leaving the office he told me that I have to do better on the next quiz. NO SHIT! I left his office and immediately started crying. Sitting through his class I stared at the floor the whole time thinking I was going to burst out crying again. I went home and proceeded to freak out (I had gotten a C on my first multivariate calculus quiz and even though I know I always suck at the first quiz I was feeling pretty rotten.)

I started thinking that I could never ever ever get a math degree, that I was too stupid (yes my mom was in my head that day telling me I'm stupid and I'll never be good enough) and that I should have majored in Comparative Literature because I know I can read and analyse or that I should just drop out of school because I'm just too stupid for a degree. (I'm so glad I didn't drop my classes that day like I though of doing.)

I got over it and I know I ACED the quiz today (because I had done the homework so often I had the answers memorized (those were the quiz questions) AND I've been thinking about limits when I can't sleep AND dreaming about them AND I studied Limits for 3 hours everyday this week.)

But besides that my friend Jonathan and I were talking and he said that it's only from his female friends that he hears about these kinds of things being said by a prof or a boss, and that it's never happened to him as a man. Which of course got us talking about the feminist theory behind why men in power behave differently towards men and women, etc, etc.

Needless to say I'm REALLY mad at my prof and when I get 100% on the quiz I know I'm going to want to jump up and yell "HAH!"


Kitty Glendower said...

What an asshole. It seems to be a passive-aggressive way of diminishing any prior knowledge you actually have by implying you were simply lucky instead of knowing what you need to know.

What other language would you have studied in order to major in Comparative Literature? English and what?

lost clown said...

Arabic and I know it's impossible to find in schools, but I love it so-Farsi.

(I actually am taking Arabic in the fall)

Jay said...

Hi lc, just browsing some sites & came across yours.

I did physics & astrophysics degree,a few years back(!), so I just wanted to encourage you to keep doing what *you* want to do, and don't let mean-spirited words get to you. Some people like to put others down to build themselves up, don't play by their rules, get mad and use it to do your best.

There will always be pillocks, but brush 'em off kiddo, you've got the guts to do a website like this so I think you'll do well :-D

physics*chick said...

hey lost clown, thanks for stopping by my blog!

being a girl who's been around physics and math departments for way to long, i say use that anger. when i was a kid i had an uncle tell me that it was ok that i couldn't get my math homework because girls can't do math anyway. i think he was trying to be helpful because i was frustrated and upset? regardless, i've always remembered, but (of course) never believed it. rather than letting such comments get me down over the years (and there have been many, comments and behaviours by profs among them) they just fuel me to do better. a little voice just goes "ooooohhh, i'll show you ya little....".

keep up the good work, and show those who disbelieve just how much you can do!

Ruth said...

Came by via Writhe Safely, and this post resonated. It didn't matter if I was sitting in the far back corner of a 30-person maths tutorial, as soon as the tutor stopped working at the board and gave us some work to go on with, he'd make a beeline for me to see if I needed help, regardless of all the hands up in the room. No prizes for guessing that I was the only female there. First time it happened I saw him coming, summed the situation up, and kinda blanked out with fury - I picked up the metal tin where I kept my pens and stuff and cracked him one on the back of the hand. Then, as the fog cleared, I was left thinking... OMG, I hit a tutor, I can't hit tutors, oh shit. I grinned at him in sheer panic, which was the worst thing I could have done, as I actually hadn't hit him that hard and he then thought I was flirting with him! So for the rest of the summer term I had to deal with him popping up outside wherever I happened to be eating lunch, and his fellow tutors grinning and leering like the ass-faced monkeys they were as they observed the exchange ("Hi X, Fine thanks, No, I'm happy eating alone"), from a safe vantage point.

I ended up throwing away that summer course in favour of a job, but I got there in the end. It seems that if they can't make a dummy out of you (going by quiz results, I was the best student in the class, and not because of any extra help I was(n't) getting) they'll intimidate or annoy you in that other time-honoured way instead.

Keep at it - gender politics aside, one of the biggest mistakes people make in math is to give up and say 'I can't do this' if they don't get it the first time around.

lost clown said...

Don't worry, I won't. I'm a math major because I love it, and though sometimes it takes me a little bit to get it, I always do.

Thanks for the encouragement, though. Sorry about the sucky tutor. I hate that shit.