I tend not to write about too many grad school experiences, but this just happened, and I need to vent.
Over winter break, I received my grades for the fall semester. I was not expecting straight As because let me tell you, last semester was like a Sarah Paulson character on American Horror Story aka a struggle bus that kept on rolling. However, straight As is what I got - except for a pesky B in a seminar class. Now this class meets every other week, and we basically show up, shut up, and pretend to listen. Aka I doodle and Snapchat on my phone; sometimes I draft a blog. But we sign the attendance sheet and we get an A.
I didn't miss a single class. How did I have a B?
I emailed the Power That Be. The Power told me to drop by his office at the beginning of this semester. So I knock on his door today and wait patiently as he pulls up my grades.
"You're Zach, right?" he asks.
" . . . No . . . I'm Cazey."
"Oh, yes. It looks like you missed Jackie's defense."
Um, no, I did not. Jackie wore a black-and-white pantsuit for her defense, which was quite a juxtaposition from her ultra-conservative personality. I tell the Power as much. He proceeds to pull out his attendance sheets, and I point out my signature.
"Oh, how did that happen?" he says.
Now you'd assume he would tack on, "I'll fix it." Instead the Power goes, "Hmm, it takes a lot of paperwork and signatures to change a grade. Is it that big of a deal?"
Now some background on the Power: He was up for tenure about a year ago, didn't get it, so that means in academia you get the boot. The Power has been looking for other professorships, including one at the College of Charleston. How do I, lowly student, know this? The Power struggles with his English and courts me on the daily on how to word emails. He one time wrote a letter to a Mrs. Smith-Powell and wanted to know if he could call her Mrs. Smith. A quick Google search led me to the College of Charleston. Idiot.
So considering the Power spends his time applying to jobs and asking me for English lessons, I think he has time to fix my grade. Me: "It's the lowest grade on my transcript, so yes, I'd like it changed."
The Power: "I send out emails after every seminar saying to check your grades. Did you not?"
Me: "No, I did. My grade say 8 out of 8."
The Power: "It should be 9 out of 9."
And how would I know that unless my grade said 8 out of 9???
"I'd really like my grade changed," I repeat.
The Power: "I'll have to see what I can do. I need the department head and the dean's signature."
Me: "I can email them for you."
The Power looked flustered. "I'll see what I can do. It will take time."
So I return to my desk. The Power pops over about 30 seconds later while I'm composing a text message rant to friends.
"I got the forms," the Power says. (Such time it took him!) "You need to fill them out." He hovers while I write out my name and student ID. "Careful, careful!" he hisses. "Is that a zero or a six?" While I don't study calligraphy, I'm pretty confident that my zeroes and sixes are distinguishable.
Me: "A zero."
The Power: "It says write clearly. Do people ever confuse your zeroes and sixes?"
Me: " . . . No."
He collects the forms from me. "Thank you."
Me: "No, thank you."
And then, before walking away, he added, "I hope this doesn't happen again. I have to get the department head's signature, and he might be mad at me."
Someone mad at you? I can't imagine.