Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Professor Emeritus of Muckety Muck

I realize that college students can try to work the system to get out of required tests. Or they cheat. Or they lie. And they can make your life difficult. But when a student demonstrates self-discipline and motivation on a regular basis through attending her classes, asking for extra help, going to your office for tutoring then I would bet that that student is one of the "good guys." Really an asset to your college and your department.

So when that student gets the flu during a major finals week and she is incoherent, then maybe suggesting that she take a final the next afternoon after her diagnosis is asking a bit much. And when the student asks to take a final on Friday and then doesn't hear back for a few days, she still has to rearrange her other finals and college requirements and does so because she is responsible.

And she has to do that while she is VERY SICK. Let me tell you Dr. Muckety Muck, the flu is nothing to fool around with and to ignore. YOU MUST TAKE THE TIME TO GET WELL OR THERE WILL BE COMPLICATIONS. As this college student's mother I can assure you that I know her medical history and am well aware of the crisis points in her health. Trust me. She could have landed in the hospital or worse. I've been there and done that with her more times than I can count.

The flu can kill. But then you're a professor of great high standing and quite possibly have a superior mind so I suppose YOU KNOW THAT, Dr. Muckety Muck. So while you were not answering emails and offering half-hearted solutions at best when you did, she was still studying for other finals, writing papers, giving presentations as soon as she was well enough to stand on her two feet without completely infecting the rest of her classmates PER HER DOCTOR'S ORDERS.

So she did her part. And you, sir, did not. And that makes this momma want to cross time and space and have a major sit down with you, but that's not allowed. That's frowned upon. That's bad, bad, bad because I'm her momma and she's a grown up (18) so she has to learn to handle it by herself. And she did handle it, but I'm still mad. I'm her momma and that button that screams a high alert warning in the pit of my stomach and from the depths of my soul to save my child from harm and harmful people has not been returned to the heavens. Nope. That button works overtime now.

Even though I KNOW I have to let her go... even though I KNOW she will navigate these waters on her own... even though I KNOW I and her father have raised her to be a strong, independent, self-caring individual... even though I KNOW all of these things, I also KNOW this: she's still my baby. She's still my little girl. And I would still throw myself in front of a speeding train to save her life.

So now my girl is home. Resting. She has a big test to study for through the holidays--yours--and she's learned a few life lessons along the way during her first semester in college as a freshman. Thanks for teaching her that a professor she respected and trusted could be a real jerk when she got sick. She'll remember that the next time she has a health crisis and she'll act more quickly to cover herself.

I guess my little girl is a grown up because she's learning to take the bullets herself.


Mary Curry said...

Christine, you have my full sympathy. My nephew encountered something similar this fall semester, He got such bad strep that he nearly ended up in the hospital, not once but twice because the drugs (3 different ones) couldn't cure him and it became a sinus infection that swelled his whole head.
The side effects of one of the drugs included short term memory problems (combined with the fuzzy head of the sinus infection) so he forgot about a paper that was due. He remembered an hour late and contacted the professor and her response was tough luck.
This from a kid who has given his heart and soul to the school, who has been held up as a model student and athlete, and who had been under physician's care for weeks at that point.

As with your daughter, the lesson learned was not what was intended when the tuition bill was paid.

Sadly, such merciless reaction is not confined to professors. I remember when my dad was dying and I needed a day off to go see him. My boss unwillingly gave me the day and told me she hoped I "wouldn't make a habit of it".
I rarely speak back but I told her I doubted my dad would make a habit of dying.

I'll keep your daughter in my prayers that this doesn't hang over her head all vacation.

Christine said...

Oh Mary your nephew's situation was awful. What a mean professor. Some "life lesson" right? Horrible!!! And I am so sorry about your mean boss when your dad was dying. I just think there are some very self-centered people out there, Mary, and yes, our kids/nephews/nieces all have to learn how to deal with them, but really? We pay tuition for meanness? That's crazy.

I hope your nephew gets 100% better. Strep is very frightening. He didn't deserve that professor's hard hearted response.

I will pray for your family, too!!!