Dear Student

I hear the words you say and I know that you do not really mean them. You mean something else.

You say: I’ve been studying so much and I still don’t get it.

You mean: It isn’t fair that I have to work to understand the material. Won’t you just be nice and raise my grade for effort?

You say: My paper isn’t good enough to submit on time. I want to make it better. I don’t want to submit what isn’t my best work.

You mean: I just started this yesterday and it still sucks.

You say: I want to meet to discuss my grades.

You mean: What will you do for me?

I say: You have to study at least ten hours per week to succeed in this class.

I mean: You have to study at least ten hours per week to succeed in this class.

I say: Your grade at the end of the course is yours alone.

I mean: If you earn an A you should be proud of your accomplishment and if you fail you should take responsibility for it and stop pointing that nasty finger away from yourself.

You say (in a whiny, accusatory voice): I did study. I study all the time. I do everything I can and I still don’t get it.

I say: Then there are only two options left: find a way to study more or just fall down on the floor and admit that, despite your Herculean efforts, this course is just too hard for you.

This last line sure pisses them off because it is when they recognize the brick wall before them and realize they have to climb over it and that it won’t blow over with a feather. This is when they finally hear the actual words I am saying (after we have shoveled off all of the bull$&!*). Feet to the fire, as they say.

If they are pissed enough, most start actually studying for real–to prove me wrong. (Ha! I win!) And then they succeed. These kids become college graduates. If they continue in their self-delusional state, they fail and continue pointing away from themselves (often for the rest of their lives). These kids eventually drop out.

It’s the end of the semester. The s&*% is hitting the fan. Professors aren’t speaking in tongues here when we say you must put the time in.  When we say a college degree is not for everyone–it must be earned. The words we say are real and true. We have absolutely no doubt that we are right. We’ve taught these courses since you were in the cradle or, if we are really old, since you were a sperm and egg, an idea. Listen to us and quit pointing.

Sincerely,

your professor

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