Saturday, February 13, 2010

A month in.

Well, I'm a month into my new life back in college and let me tell you - I'm LOVING it. But sadly, there are some issues starting to arise. With any group of people that spend a lot of time together drama is bound to crop up. It reared its ugly head this week around these parts. I'll explain what all went on but first a bit of a background for those not living in Ontario or familiar with some of the post-secondary educational options.

Ontario has some programs to help out people who have lost their careers due to business closings named, aptly enough, Second Career. In a nutshell, they cover the majority, if not all, of the costs of returning to school to learn a new career should you be laid off. In theory this is an AWESOME idea. In practice, I'm starting to believe it's something else entirely. There are also other agencies such as WSIB that will also pay for your schooling should a workplace accident prevent you from working in your current field.

So what does this mean for classes and what does it have to do with the drama? Ultimately, it may have nothing to do with the drama, but I think it does. A certain portion of each class is now comprised of older students attending under these programs (as opposed to me, an older student paying for it out of my own pocket - with the help of loans). Unfortunately for many of these Second Career people, they have no business being back in school. School was a long time ago for many of these people and I don't think that education was a major factor in their original career path. So they're here, on the government's dime, trying to learn a new career. It's an uphill struggle for them right off the bat and I don't see it getting any easier as the term progresses and we move into future terms. Some of them probably have no interest in learning anything new and are just prolonging having to go out and find a new job at something they are more suitably qualified for, such as a Big Box Greeter. Let me say that I *DON'T* believe that to be the case here. I do believe that the people in my program WANT to learn. I WANT to win the lottery too.

Okay, so now that we've got a bit of background out of the way - onto the drama. There are three such people in my program. Well, three that I know of. There may be more. Two of these three are enrolled through Second Career and the third is having his education paid for by WSIB. For the sake of privacy, let's call these three Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and Humpty Dumpty. As most of my readers will know, this coming Monday is Family Day here in Ontario. Sweet! No classes. BUT one of our classes meets only once a week - on Mondays. As such, the professor announced this past class that we would need to make up the lost class. He did this by scheduling a one-hour section on Wednesday and a two-hour on Thursday. No big deal at all as these are our lightest days anyway. Unless you're Tweedledum and Tweedledee that is. Apparently this is some huge inconvenience for them. Yes, I do agree with them that it would have been nice to have a little more than a week's notice but whatever, a week's fine. So they bitch and moan about it. The next day there's STILL bitching and moaning about it. This time it's at the beginning of our CAD class that's taught by the department co-ordinator. I've pretty much had enough at this point and explain to them they always have the option of NOT attending the class. A couple other people agreed with me and that shut them up. For a while.

Fast forward to yesterday in our Materials & Methods class. Again, a bit of a background. A couple weeks back Tweedledum or Tweedledee - and honestly, I can't remember which as they ALWAYS sit together, MOVE together, and SPEAK for each other - was upset because the PowerPoint slide for that particular lecture wasn't available online prior to the start of class. The professor apologized and said that he would make sure that they were available online in the future. Now I'm not aware of ANY college rule or regulation that states that these must be made available AT ALL to the students, never mind being available before the class. I'm grateful that they are as it makes taking notes easier but in no way do I expect such a service. So yesterday we're sitting in class. This class is, admittedly, a little dry. The professor does his best to keep it interesting but the room we're stuck in makes it hard as there is no middle ground for lighting - either all on or all off - so it's dark in there too. The lecture is about the various types of concrete and we finish faster than expected. Instead of dismissing the class early the professor would prefer to go onto the next PowerPoint based lecture. Unfortunately this PowerPoint wasn't yet available online since the prof. didn't expect to get that far. T'dum and T'dee complain about this and the professor apologizes, telling them he'll put it up right after class. He explained (again) that he didn't expect to get this far. Just as he starts going into this lecture, the two pack up their books in their fancy rolling suitcases and leave class. HD also packs up his stuff but doesn't leave. The professor is understandably pissed. He then spends about five minutes talking about the issue of disrupting the class the way they did. HD tried to defend his two buddies but really couldn't speak for them. So we continue the lecture and head off to our next class. T'dum & T'dee are there and say something. I don't really say anything to them as I'm really beginning to despise them. Last night one of them sends out an email to the class asking for us to email our class president about how horrible the class is. This email had to be one of the poorest forms of the written word I have ever seen. Not THE worst, but pretty close. So I obliged and sent an email to the class president. In that email I pretty much shot to hell every poorly written point that T'dum (or was it T'dee?) made. I didn't really want to get involved but there's no way I'm going to sit by and let this two/three people railroad this professor for things that are ultimately beyond his control. Apparently he/they have a meeting with the department head on Tuesday to discuss the situation further.

I don't know much about the Second Career program but I think that if you flunk out or drop out you have to repay the money. My theory is that they're doing all this bitching and moaning about the professors so that when they ultimately flunk out they can blame the program instead of their lack of learning ability in an effort to escape repaying the government. In the mean time, they're doing their best to disrupt the rest of the class that wants to learn and stir up shit.

In other, happier news, I've got a couple actual tests under my belt and let me tell you, I feel GOOD! My first test was in Materials & Methods and I managed to pull off the highest mark in the class with a 92%! There were four questions that I wasn't too confident about and guess what, I was bang on in my assessment - those were the four I got wrong. My next test was in History of Architecture and in that I managed to score a 94%. Sadly, two others scored higher than me but still - 94%!!! I've also done a test for my Statics class but we don't have the marks from it yet. That said, I would be extremely disappointed if I score anything less than a 90% on that one. Go me! Score a couple for the old guy!