Thursday, March 18, 2010

I for Ick! (Alternatively, Geology is dumb.)

I bet you’re just on pins and needles, lovely reader, wondering how Geology class went on Monday. Okay, probably not, but I’m going to tell ya anyway!

The location is stupid. Because it’s a large business, we are required to check in with security. This involves giving them a photo id, singing in, and being presented with a guest badge. Then, we congregate in the lobby waiting for the professor to arrive, because he must guide us to our classroom. It’s a ridiculous system when you consider how many students consistently show up late, but I’ll get into that more in a minute.

The class itself doesn’t seem like it’s going to be horribly bad. I still don’t care about rocks, and I’m now even less excited about the subject matter. But, keeping in mind that I won’t love every class I take, I’ll persevere. There’s no doubt I’ll learn something, because I know very little about rocks and the Earth’s layers and all that garbage (that's a technical term) right now. And, even if we might not care or enjoy it, it is always cool to learn new things, isn’t it?

I mean, who knows what could happen with this newfound knowledge. Someday I could kick ass in Trivial Pursuit just because I know how sedimentary rocks are formed or what igneous rocks are. (You know; if I ever actually played Trivial Pursuit.)

Homework is pretty heavy. I’ll have approximately three chapters of the textbook to read every week and about an hour and a half of boring ass videos about rocks to watch. Based on the fist video, which we saw in class Monday, this will be excruciating. Imagine if you will, the wonderfully educational science videos you watched in elementary school. You know; the monotone voice, images that barely have anything to do with the words the narrator is saying, or graphics with a simple triangle labeled volcano and a circle labeled rock where certain objects light up as they are being talked about, etc. Just awful, dreadful stuff.

I will get through it though. It’s not exciting, and I still don’t care about Geology at all, but I do want to earn an A. With that in mind, I’ll work hard.

The professor is a whole ‘nother story. He made a bad class a whole lot worse. To summarize him, I’ll tell you that he’s a sexist pig douchebag, wannabe comedian, and unorganized dope; that’s putting it nicely (believe it or not). Let me go ahead and break down each of these wonderful characteristics for you…

On the sexist pig douchebag front, it was obvious from the get go that women are inferior to this man. He mentioned that we will all want to arrive to class on time every Monday, because otherwise security calls up to have someone come down to escort late students up to the classroom. And when that happens, one of the “ladies” in the room will have to go down to escort the late students. Let me assure you, lovely reader, that there are in fact male students in this class, so it’s not as though “ladies” must escort late classmates up by default.

Why is this a “lady’s” job? I got the distinct impression that it’s likely because we are not good at science, and thus can miss a portion of class to escort students up; it’s not like we were gonna retain that knowledge anyway. Now, he didn’t outright say that, but it was implied in comments he made about his stupid, boring wife who doesn’t understand a thing about rocks, even though he’s tried to expand her knowledge on numerous occasions. (It has apparently never crossed his mind that she just might not care.) He reinforced the sexist mentality by telling us about some kind of exchange between him and his wife in which she said, “You forgot to iron your shirt; it’s all wrinkly,” and he replied with, “No; you forgot to iron my shirt.” Nice. Real nice.

On to wannabe comedian…this professor thinks he’s absolutely hilarious. He said something about how, during labs, students tend to look towards the class leader for answers. He then said, “There are no leaders in this class, and there’s no class in this leader.” (Ain’t that the truth?!) At one point, we were working through a lab in which we had to complete a topography map. There was a point on the map marked BM 982. He said, “Now, that doesn’t stand for bowel movement; that point is not 982 in a series of bowel movements,” and proceeded to inform us that BM stood for benchmark. Ooooooooooooookay, dude, you sound so intelligent, and I’m eager to take you seriously, when you bring up bowel movements in a class about rocks. WOW! He, of course, laughed the loudest at his own jokes.

Well, him and the creepy guy who sat at my table leering at all of us girls as though he was trying to decide who he was going to rape in the parking lot after class. I’m serious, reader; this guy was very, very weird and creepy. He showed up to class with nothing more than a pencil and a sheet of printer paper; no books, but he did have an empty backpack with him (Why? One can only guess.). He spontaneously giggled this weird, quiet giggle at the most inappropriate times (when no one else was laughing, nothing funny was being said, and the professor wasn’t even trying to be funny) and then looked around the table at each of us expectantly; as though we were supposed to either laugh or ask him what was so funny.

I really wanted to ask him what the voices in his head had just said that was so damn entertaining, but I didn’t want to be the one selected for an after class raping in the parking lot, so I left it alone.

I can handle the professor’s douchey sexist behavior, because I just pass it off as him projecting his own feelings of inferiority onto us. I can even handle his horrible brand of comedy, because I only have to put up with it for seven more weeks. I cannot handle the fact that he is completely unorganized, and his grading system has no structure. This, lovely reader, is what will drive me mad. I like knowing what is expected of me, which is why I love when an instructor has a detailed syllabus.

This professor’s syllabus is one page that lists out the chapters we’ll be expected to read and the videos we’ll be expected to watch each week. It also shows the dates for quizzes. There are three quizzes over the eight week period, and the amount of max points per quiz varies. Quiz 1 is worth 30 points, Quiz 2 is worth 45 points, and Quiz 3 is worth 55 points for a grand total of 130 points. The reason for the point variation is that we are expected to be more knowledgeable with each quiz. The main portion of your final grade for the class is dependent on the total points scored in quizzes.

However, we will also complete about 11 labs in class. These labs aren’t graded on a points system per se. Instead, they’re graded on a symbol scale ranging from + to “nc” with check plus, check, check minus, and minus also included in the scale. The symbol you earn is based on your participation in the lab and how correct your answers are. Apparently labs can only factor into your final grade in a positive way. That is, if the total of quiz points earned has you on the borderline between an A and a B, but the majority of your labs were check plus or check, your final grade could be pushed up to an A.

At least I think I understood all of that right. It’s a very convoluted grading system. The professor told us we’d have the system figured out towards the end of class, but that’s a little too late for me. I’d like to know up front what I need to do in order to earn an A. From what I've gathered, it will be important to do the reading and to pay attention to what the instructor says in class, because that's the information we will be quizzed on. Each quiz has a preview quiz, so we'll know what to expect on the actual graded quiz.

So, that’s that, dear reader. I foresee a long seven weeks with lots of frustration. Hopefully it goes by quickly!!
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  1. Yuck. I hated Geology too - and I made the mistake of taking honors geology in college, before I realized that the honors designation would be pointless if it made my GPA lower.

  2. The only thing I want to know about rocks is what type of rock would be best to throw at the professor's head? It sounds like he needs to be hit in the head with something hard!

  3. Yikes. I hope it goes quickly for you, too.

  4. Good luck!

    Stopping by from SITS to say hello.

    Have a great day!

  5. Sometimes I think about going back to school for something. Not really sure why, since I already have degree that I don't use. LOL But, this post made me remember the things that can suck about having to take a class!

    Good luck!

  6. Ya I couldn't deal with that. You were right I am sure you will hate it but just do what you need to do in order to get an A and then you will be done with the horrible class with the idiot teacher!

  7. I care for only one rock, and that is a rock I can slip on my finger, not ring finger though (I have issues, yeah), a rock that can adorn my neckline, or make my wrist looks even more expensive. I don't care how it came into existence, I just care how it would look on me.

    As for the douchey one, at least you have an idea what you will have to deal with during the course. You can plan your own 'behavior' action plan accordingly. It is the douchebag in disguise that I am worried about, those are the worst!

  8. i was going to say, "whenever i had a boring class, i'd try to make myself have a crush on the professor. it'd always make the class more enjoyable." but clearly that is not an option, as your professor is douchey mcdouchebag.


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