Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do I admit defeat and negotiate a surrender?

Right now, I should be sitting in Dr. Jerk's psychopathology class. Instead, I'm trying to decide how least to ruin my entire professional future.

My rabbi wasn't able to meet with the university bigwig yesterday; he'll try today and tomorrow, and asked me to check in with him tomorrow afternoon -- less than 24 hours before my next meeting with the Inquisition. I don't know if the higher authorities will be able to do anything for me -- or if they'll want to.

Jerusha, with whom I negotiated a truce, discussed my case with her husband, the hotshot lawyer. They think I should withdraw, citing health reasons. That way, I'll get a partial refund of my tuition, and I can make a fresh start -- next year. And I'll be able to explain to the schools where I'm re-applying that my health problems prevented me from doing as well as I could have, especially since the school was not accommodating.

I don't know what to do. One of my former professors is pushing me to consider getting a degree in social work instead of psychology; another has urged me to talk to my psychiatrist before making a decision. I don't see how either course of action will help me.

I have so many people who love me and support me, but I feel completely afraid and alone. I can't believe how badly this first semester has turned out. Some of it was my fault, but most of it was the faculty's -- and I'm not the only one who sees it that way.

It's so unfair. I can do this work! Why am I being kept from it? Why, after so many years of wandering without direction, and then finally finding a direction and working so hard to attain my goal -- why am I being thwarted?
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I'm no expert at negotiating academic politics, although I am somewhat diplomatic in nature.

    What are your total options?

    If it comes down to a choice of expulsion or taking a leave of absence, it might be worthwhile to take the medical deferment and start again next year. You will have lost some time and a little money, but in the grand scheme of things it is not a huge deal, plus you will have learned valuable lessons in negotiating the world of academic politics.

    Any other option depends on how secure you feel you are with your position and your arguments. If Jerk is tenured, and it sounds like he is, you're not going to bring him down-- the best you might be able to negotiate is having your situation mediated somehow and maybe do a special project for his class. Is there a student advocate who can argue on your behalf? I can't believe this situation could be so hopeless that the administration would be willing to sacrifice you for Jerk.

    Ironic that he teaches psychopathology.

  2. I agree with your BIL. Stop trying to fight city hall. Fall back, regroup, figure out a different path to your end goal. Even if you don't want to admit it, your medical problems -- from the hip and knee to the bipolar -- have impacted your performance and interactions this semester. Give yourself a chance to heal mentally and physically and then try again.

    Be patient with yourself, and stop wasting your energy on anger and the pursuit of justice. Leave the justice in G-d's hands. 'Tis better to be happy than to be right.