May 05, 2006

Dianna, 1. Does the rest of the score even matter?

My semester is now essentially over barring finals; classes continue until Tuesday, but my final papers and projects are all in and I have nothing left to do but study. I got back my last Mediterranean Anthropology paper today, so the only grades I haven't yet seen are on a paper and reading responses for LGBT Studies. Still, assuming that my grades on those are in keeping with my grades for that class so far....

As of right now, I have an A in every class I'm taking.

Oh my god. Can I say that again? I have an A in every class I'm taking. That's something I've never been able to say past the second week of any semester since I started high school. Maybe even before that, actually; I remember getting at least one C in junior high. And now my papers are coming back saying "excellent", "well-conceived and well-written", and "nice work".

Ironically, I'm so excited that I'm becoming incoherent.

Posted by dianna at May 5, 2006 02:15 PM

Well done! Except now you're in the Nerd Patrol and are left vulnerable to wedgies, wet willies, and the dreaded rear admiral.

Posted by: Zach S. at May 5, 2006 06:01 PM

In my attempt to figure out what, if anything, the dreaded rear admiral actually is, I found myself reading a Wikipedia article on school pranks. One of the pranks described was so brilliant that I fell instantly in love with it.

Basic prank:
Let a few noticeable but non-dangerous animals loose in your school.
Improved prank:
Use three animals. Label them 1, 2, and 4, leaving faculty to search fruitlessly for #3.

Sadly, the Wikipedia article has now been heavily edited and is being considered for deletion. Still, I salute it.

Posted by: Dianna at May 6, 2006 06:27 PM


To my knowledge, the term Rear Admiral is not actually used to describe any kind of prank or predatory schoolyard activity. It does, however, seem like the sort of name that really should be attached to a prank.

I should also point out that my first post from "left vulnerable..." on was lifted straight from a Simpsons episode, so this isn't any kind of original joke on my part.

Posted by: Zach S. at May 6, 2006 08:12 PM

As to the actual subject of your post, to what do you attribute your turn-around in academic fortunes? Maturity? Perspicacity? Sticktuitiveness? Gumption?

Posted by: Zach S. at May 6, 2006 08:14 PM

Indeed, in my Googling, I discovered an answer from the person responsible for that part of the episode script: sorry, guys, there is no such thing as the dreaded rear admiral, but by god doesn't it sound just right?

Unsensationally, I attribute my changing grades entirely to my own level of attention and effort. There are no grades except the grades you earn, etc etc, except in cases of instructors who are more out to lunch than mine. Essentially, my grades from before I withdrew were mediocre-to-terrible because I didn't give a damn about being in college. I had it instilled into me from a very young age that I would go to college; it was as inevitable to me as that I would go to junior high and high school, and was therefore, like junior high and high school, a chore to be tolerated until it was finished. Greater levels of interest peeked through on occasion, mostly when I felt I was there for some better reason than "so I can tell my parents I finished college", but that basically meant that once I started to become disillusioned with architecture as a life plan it all went straight to hell.

The other issue is, of course, that now I'm in college on my dime. That was true for the last year or so before I withdrew, but it happened suddenly as a result of a bizarre and messy imbroglio with my parents and so I didn't really have any time to think about being financially invested in my education before it was just another reality to take for granted. This time, I've spent the last two years thinking about how to go back to college and afford it, and since I've gotten used to having an income which doesn't go towards tuition I now feel that if I'm going to be poor and in debt it had better be really fucking worth my time. Receiving a list of books which I won't read and a seat in a lecture which I won't attend is not so worth my time, and, as I'm discovering, once you've read the books and attended the lectures, getting the A is not such a stretch.

This little motivational speech isn't really helping with the nerd designation, is it.

Posted by: Dianna at May 6, 2006 08:56 PM

No, it isn't.

It's a shame that, when a student has such a big turnaround in performance, particularly after a period off from school such as yours, there's no way to remove, de-emphasize, or otherwise officially disavow previous less-than-stellar grades. I suppose employers and academic programs do take into account large changes in grade trends. Still, it'd be nice if they gave you one chance to clean the slate if you demonstrated that your performance had changed significantly for the better. Sort of like a baptism, only for bad grades. You could be a Born-Again Straight-A Student!

Posted by: Zach S. at May 6, 2006 09:19 PM

"once you've read the books and attended the lectures, getting the A is not such a stretch."

It is a sad state of affairs when this actually counts as an earth-shattering fucking revelation, but I think I'm going to be forced to copy this and hand it out to my students. But: does it not suddenly feel like you're part of the cognoscenti?

Posted by: katie at May 8, 2006 03:10 AM

"once you've read the books and attended the lectures, getting the A is not such a stretch."

And now let us bow our heads and give praise to the almighty something-or-other that saw fit in its infinite wisdom to create Social Science.

Without it, most of us with The Hopelessly Generic Above-Average Intellect would either be ex-premeds who failed out of Organic Chem or ex-English majors who got expelled for trying to strangle some tweed-wearing jackass who disapproved of the way we felt about a sonnet.

"Iambic Pentameter is not the boss of me! YEEEAAAARGH!"

P.S. Congrats on your triumphant return to academia. You done made us semianonymous internet personalities proud.

Posted by: poot at May 10, 2006 06:19 AM

Poot, I'm not really sure what it is that you're saying about lit, social science, and organic chem, but thank you for the congratulations.

Katie, photocopy away, though, I hate to say, much good may it do you. No quantity of xeroxed revelations would have convinced me of this three years ago... but then, that was largely because I hadn't really given "read the books and attend the lectures" a fair try.

Posted by: Dianna at May 10, 2006 07:38 PM