Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ubiquitous Crazy People

You would sorta think that people in grad school are less crazy than the average person. They're all relatively intelligent (or at least "book smart"), and stable enough to complete the hard work required to get here. And in psychology, if these people are going to be studying the workings of other people's minds, their own minds must be in pretty good shape.

But no. It is not true at all. There is just as much crazy in psychology grad students, if not more, as there is everywhere else.

Here is an example. I've been marking papers, and complaining about marking papers, for the last few weeks. I was relieved to finally be done last week. But then, I get an email saying there's a paper-marking emergency. It seems that one of my fellow teaching assistants, instead of marking his lab section's papers, gave everyone marks of 90% or more, then disappeared and became unreachable.

Now, I don't claim to be all there. I've probably got a bit of crazy in me, especially lately with all the "life changes" I'm going through. But I think it's mostly a good and productive sort of insanity, jostling me up like a stone in a stream, from which I'll emerge all polished and shiny. This person, however, must be going the bad sort of crazy if they just completely abandoned a job they'd been working at all year like that. More like a Timbit in a stream, getting soggy and being nibbled at by ducks.

Now I'm stuck marking some of this person's students' papers. I'm not sure if it's the cause or the effect of his insanity, but it seems to be reflected in his students' work. Here is an excerpt from one of their essays:

"Body attitude is an important aspect when categorizing sexuality. The body is usually closer to others, revealed and certain expressions and gestures are made. The gestures and expressions are to do with the way the person in the image feels and smells when looked at by another."

How a person smells when looked at? What? I have no idea what they're even trying to say here.

...

I'm debating whether I should press "publish" now or not, because I probably shouldn't be posting this gossipy semi-private stuff on my blog, in case people from school read this. But screw it. This blog is mostly anonymous. If you're from school, forget you ever saw this.

6 comments:

sarah said...

You didn't anyone's name or anything. I think you're okay.

GRAD STUDENTS ARE THE WORST!! Don't get me started. You and don't count, of course.

Dead Robot said...

You could do a "Fake Steve Jobs" blog of all the good bits. I'm too lazy to google to find out if it's been done.

My brother use to email excerpts every so often. I believe the children our are future. Teach them well and we'll all smell good for school picture day.

Phronk said...

Sarah: Yeah I hope I'm ok! And you should totally get started on grad students. I'd try being defensive, but probably end up agreeing with you.

DR: Haha...that would be wrong, but hilarious. I'm sure someone has done it. Googling is hard.

Jennifer said...

This makes me feel better about the stuff I've written for my class. If you can get to grad school with crap like that (and get a 90+ from your crazy TA even!) then I should make it through my 200 level english class.

KevBo said...

oh god. Dealing with grad students and professors everyday is somewhat of a pain, trust me.

Sure they are book smart, but on many occasions I have questioned their street smart characteristics.

To be honest, for the majority of them (albeit a few are normal) I wonder how they function at all in the real world.

Phronk said...

Jen: To be fair, these are undergrads, but still, I've seen you write single sentences that containing more comprehensible English than these entire papers.

Kevbo: I know. I think part of the problem is that they (ok, "we") don't function in the real world. We function in a self-contained bubble that is the university campus, only interacting with other people in the bubble most of the time. Sure, a lot are more normal and well-rounded, but the extreme cases tend to stand out.