Wednesday, October 18, 2006

He hates me. He really, really hates me.

I met with Dr. Jerk to ask for a reasonable accommodation: please let me ask students in other labs for participants, since my labmates aren't coming up with people I can conveniently test. He turned me down flat.

"You've been asking for special treatment since day 1," he said. "The first day of class you wanted to change your lab." I tried to explain that I'd been trying to finalize my schedule and since my lab TA wasn't in class that day, I didn't know when lab would be and whether it would conflict with my schedule. (It's all my stupid TA's fault!!!)

No dice. I tried to give him a better sense of my knee injury, the amount of pain I was in, and he was equally adamant. "You're coming to classes, so you must be able to get around fine. If you're really having such difficulties meeting the requirements of the program, maybe you should take a leave of absence to take care of your health."

He'd like that, wouldn't he?

I'm not having problems dealing with the program requirements; I'm having problems with his arbitrary and inflexible rules. But he's obviously pegged me as a whiny, lazy, difficult student, and nothing I can do will change that.

I mentioned that my labmates weren't coming up with people for me to test, whereas I had come up with a number of viable candidates for them, and he said, "You know, it's nice that you brought in 11 people, but so what? You need to ask your labmates for more participants."

I can't believe that one encounter at the beginning of the semester has so poisoned him against me. I realize that it's his failing, but it's creating a hostile learning environment for me. And with the faculty unanimously aligned against me, I can't ask them for help. The program director has probably been poisoned against me by her assistant, my TA. I guess I could talk to the dean of students, but I don't want the whole school to think I'm a troublemaker. (I also had a nasty time with the dean's secretary when I was trying to get transfer credit for my graduate study elsewhere, so I'm probably persona non grata in his office as well.)

At least I know it's his problem. I spoke to my former professor, who graduated from this program, and she said with a knowing sigh, "I see Dr. Jerk hasn't changed." Apparently she had a few unpleasant encounters with him as well.

She recommended I talk to my adviser again, whom I've already consulted about Dr. Jerk. And when I ask the deputy director if she's come up with that list of recommendations to tighten my boundaries, I'll let her know that her suggestion I ask Dr. Jerk for help resulted in another unnecessarily hostile, unpleasant confrontation.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Why not bite the bullet and go out wherever you can get the candidates for the tests and do the tests and avoid the aggravation of having the conflict with Dr. Jerk and going to other administrators and having additional aggravation. Get it over with. It may be the least painful solution, literally and figuratively.

  2. Do you think that telling the deputy director that you had another run-in with Dr. Jerk (and implying that it's partly her fault, because she suggested it) is wise? It seems that she is already to side with him, against you, regardless of the unfairness of the situation.

  3. I have to agree with this last poster.
    Unfortunately, unfair and ridiculous as the situation is, I don't think you are going to win this one. I would figure out a way to test folks outside Manhattan. After you've taken a deep breath I'd let the deputy director know you have done this, and maybe it'll earn you some good will from her and the TA.
    Hang in there, Ayelet! Get through this semester and hopefully your instructors next go 'round will be better.