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Should I continue in the course


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Not that I know this for a fact, but I could imagine that it's because they worry about how you might (over/mis)interpret their words. Maybe they can already imagine a situation where you get a C and come to them to complain that they promised you that you would get a B, so what happened? Followed by a petition to up your grade because a C is a very bad outcome for you. Or maybe they are just tired of talking so much about your grade and apparently not enough about your actual performance and what you are learning and are capable of doing, topics that are more appropriate for graduate students in a graduate course. Or maybe, just maybe, they aren't done grading but still took the time to skim your assignment before your deadline and give you the relevant feedback: given the fact that you failed to complete certain parts of the assignment, you are not going to pass, but your exact grade still remains to be calculated. 

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That does sound reasonable. But I don't understand why the prof emailed to say it was graded and would like to meet to discuss :(, but doesn't go over the comments in the paper with me. I wonder if this was a chance for the prof to see if I'm serious or not about the course? I felt so bad that I even cried in front of the prof.

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As someone who has been a TA, students ask me all the time "Is it still possible for me to get a [Grade/Pass] in this course?"...and it's a really annoying, difficult question for a teacher to answer.

I mean sure, theoretically you could absolutely ace all the following assignments and get an A. You could also theoretically submit a bunch of assignments the same quality as the one you just bombed and get a failing grade. Or y'know, anything in between.* The students' promises that they will work really, really hard to improve doesn't mean a whole lot to the teacher in this scenario - they are just words that aren't backed up by the evidence presented. 

Should you drop the course? I don't know. If you're in your final year...with the intention of pursuing graduate study...with no other failing courses on your record it might be worth the risk to preserve and learn how to deal with graduate-level coursework. Of course, you may get bad grades, but if the professor sees evidence of steady improvement over the semester then it wouldn't be a totally bad thing. If the professor isn't able to give you the feedback you need to improve, or you have absolutely no idea about how to improve/can't decode or implement the feedback given, then I'd say this course was a waste of your time.

 

* I've seen all possibilities pan out. If you don't know the student it can be hard to judge their eventual success in the course based on the first 1 or 2 assignments. 

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18 hours ago, undergrad_2015 said:

At my school students are kicked out if they fail 2 courses. I'm doing well in others, just not this course. I do want to continue, but prof hasn't assigned a failed grade for the paper. If it's 69, then I can do well....but if it is something esle like 30...omg. I've asked the prof if I can keep the paper and read over comments, but that was a no. The issue with the paper is that I missed discussing some stuff (like 2 out of 10 items). There was no rubric for this paper.

At the graduate level, there aren't going to be rubrics for papers as there are for undergraduate courses/assignments. It's your responsibility to fully address everything you are supposed to based on the instructions. If you didn't, don't blame the professor or the lack of a rubric for the low grade. You really need to start taking some responsibility for the work that you are doing.

16 hours ago, undergrad_2015 said:

But I don't understand why the prof emailed to say it was graded and would like to meet to discuss :(, but doesn't go over the comments in the paper with me. I wonder if this was a chance for the prof to see if I'm serious or not about the course? I felt so bad that I even cried in front of the prof.

Two more things. 1) Stop trying to understand or dissect every single thing this professor says or does. It's only going to make you miserable. 2) Don't cry in front of faculty over a grade in a course. It's immature.

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I did want to do well, but can I do well when there is no support? The prof had asked me at this meeting, "How can I do to support you?"....but I couldn't even answer that because I dont know what exactly are my weaknesses (As mentioned, I was not able to read the comments in the paper). Also, I told the prof that I did take advice about going to graduate support centre....but they thought my assignments were good (nothing really to critique about). Perhaps different expectations, but those were the comments I received. I just don't know...its just with this course.

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The support question seems to be much more general than this specific assignment. I think you should think deeply about what you are looking for in the program. You mentioned that you haven't received compliments from any professors while in grad school: from what I understand, this doesn't happen in any graduate program. At this level, it's not about rubrics and compliments. If that's whats necessary for you to feel comfortable with your performance, this might not be the right atmosphere for you.

So generally I would think hard about what you really want. Do you feel you need compliments? People constantly checking on you? Extremely clear guidelines? The prof may be able to support you, but most of these things are now your own responsibility. You have to compliment yourself, you have to check up on yourself, and you have to set deadlines and interpret guidelines to make them clear. Grad school is self-directed, so this is the new reality and it can be discouraging.

I think after a bit of a soul searching process, you'll know what your answer is, not just to whether you should drop this class.

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No I'm not seeking compliments, but I also don't need constant comments from professors that make me feel worthless and telling me that I failed without giving a numerical grade. Advice on what books to read would be helpful too other than directing me to the writing centre. I'm determined to finish the program for sure.

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19 minutes ago, undergrad_2015 said:

No I'm not seeking compliments, but I also don't need constant comments from professors that make me feel worthless and telling me that I failed without giving a numerical grade. Advice on what books to read would be helpful too other than directing me to the writing centre. I'm determined to finish the program for sure.

There are two options for what might be going on here, and since you are being very vague, we can't know which is correct: either you are doing fine and are having trouble with one outlier professor, or you are not doing well at all and are not seeing it. Based on your replies here and in the other thread you started, it would seem that the latter may be the case, but of course we can't actually know that.

If it's just one professor that is giving your trouble and actually bringing you to tears, then I fail to see why you are not just dropping the class. You are otherwise doing fine, and there is no need for this kind of stress in your life. Just accept that you will not have a numerical grade at this point, for whatever reason and it frankly doesn't matter, and just make the decision based on the information you do have, which I would say is more than enough. 

On the other hand, if this is symptomatic of a larger problem--of how you act as a student more generally--you will eventually need to address it. No one is going to give you compliments, or hold your hand and walk you through everything. A big part of the process is learning to teach yourself whatever knowledge or skills you are lacking. Are you explicitly asking for help and not getting it, or are you expecting someone to magically know what you need? You even described a case where someone explicitly asked how they can help you, but you can't answer the question, so you can't even begin to help yourself. How is referring you to the writing center relevant if you are asking for reading materials? There's got to be a part of the story you're not telling that connects those two. It sounds like there is a failure in communication or a problem understanding expectations. You seem to be expecting something that the professor is not giving you, and appears to have no intentions of giving you. The professor is not likely to change. You will need to adapt to the way s/he does things, or choose to move on. Continuing to do what you are doing and expecting different results is only going to lead to more frustration. 

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I am not sure why you wouldn't drop the course at this point since it is not a required course and you feel like the assignments/professor are unclear.  I don't understand what benefit you think you can achieve by staying in this course...

I do agree with the other posters that you are going to have adjust your expectations for graduate school.  The main difference between undergraduate and graduate classes is that you are expected to be a much more independent learner which means that you need to take stock of your deficits and go proactively address them either through seeking out the resources independently, going to support services/centers, and/or getting advice/recommendations from advanced students in your program.  Ultimately, though, you are responsible for your learning.

12 hours ago, undergrad_2015 said:

Also, I told the prof that I did take advice about going to graduate support centre....but they thought my assignments were good (nothing really to critique about). Perhaps different expectations, but those were the comments I received. 

I don't know how your grad support center works - but I know my writing center is about helping you to communicate your ideas well and it is not about checking whether you have completed the assignment per se which seems like was the problem based on your previous posts.  So perhaps you are expecting too much from this grad support center and this is not their function i.e. checking for assignment "completeness" ...

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Just now, undergrad_2015 said:

No I'm not seeking compliments, but I also don't need constant comments from professors that make me feel worthless and telling me that I failed without giving a numerical grade. Advice on what books to read would be helpful too other than directing me to the writing centre. I'm determined to finish the program for sure.

I understand you don't think you are looking for compliments, despite saying earlier that you are unhappy as none of your professors so far have complimented your work. It can be difficult to come from doing very well in undergrad to struggling in grad school, as the different program requires some adjustment. A lot of people have this issue from high school to undergrad, and again from undergrad to grad. You're not the only person facing this, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to be self-reflective.

You said the comments from professors make you feel worthless. No one can tell you that isn't how you are feeling, but that is not 100% about the professor. How they communicate and how you interpret their comments both interact to make you feel this way. And because sometimes you can't change how they communicate, you have to either get out of that relationship if you can, or change the way you interpret their comments to preserve your sanity. I would recommend the second one.

The writing centre should be very helpful, and you can always google what books to read. I don't think anyone else should need to tell you what books to read in graduate school, but if you want some recommendations on books about writing, here are some below:

APA 6th Edition Manual - even if you are not in psychology this is very helpful with writing introductions, discussions, formatting tables, figures, papers in general, and it gives you tips on style and word usage.

Elements of Style - William Strunk and E.B. White - this is the major book about how to write well. it has been around for almost 100 years and still holds true today.

Sense of Style: Scientific Writing in the 21st Century - Steven Pinker - this is an excellent book by an excellent writer, who talks about communicating clearly and without jargon/excessive complexity. Dr. Pinker also studies these topics in his research, and has great talks based on this book that you may be able to find on the computer.

I hope these are helpful. I use all three when I train editors that work for me at our undergrad journal.

That's great that you are determined to finish this program. My recommendations from my other post still stand, because they should be implemented whether or not you are staying. What you've been doing so far hasn't been working well for you, regardless of your marks (that's not what I'm referring to), so you should make some changes before things get even worse. We all have to improve and constantly evaluate how we're doing and how we're feeling, so don't just continue to do something if it causes you stress and if you feel worthless. Change it instead of 'dealing' with the misery.

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14 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

There are two options for what might be going on here, and since you are being very vague, we can't know which is correct: either you are doing fine and are having trouble with one outlier professor, or you are not doing well at all and are not seeing it. Based on your replies here and in the other thread you started, it would seem that the latter may be the case, but of course we can't actually know that.

If it's just one professor that is giving your trouble and actually bringing you to tears, then I fail to see why you are not just dropping the class. You are otherwise doing fine, and there is no need for this kind of stress in your life. Just accept that you will not have a numerical grade at this point, for whatever reason and it frankly doesn't matter, and just make the decision based on the information you do have, which I would say is more than enough. 

On the other hand, if this is symptomatic of a larger problem--of how you act as a student more generally--you will eventually need to address it. No one is going to give you compliments, or hold your hand and walk you through everything. A big part of the process is learning to teach yourself whatever knowledge or skills you are lacking. Are you explicitly asking for help and not getting it, or are you expecting someone to magically know what you need? You even described a case where someone explicitly asked how they can help you, but you can't answer the question, so you can't even begin to help yourself. How is referring you to the writing center relevant if you are asking for reading materials? There's got to be a part of the story you're not telling that connects those two. It sounds like there is a failure in communication or a problem understanding expectations. You seem to be expecting something that the professor is not giving you, and appears to have no intentions of giving you. The professor is not likely to change. You will need to adapt to the way s/he does things, or choose to move on. Continuing to do what you are doing and expecting different results is only going to lead to more frustration. 

Thank you. After thinking through, it is just this professor who is stressing me out. I still don't understand the prof's expectations even though I've tried asking. For example, I've received feedback in a previous assignment about edit this and that, but never "HOW". I've also explicitly asked for resources, but was just recommend to go to the centre. What has actually been useful is this forum.

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13 hours ago, ZeChocMoose said:

I am not sure why you wouldn't drop the course at this point since it is not a required course and you feel like the assignments/professor are unclear.  I don't understand what benefit you think you can achieve by staying in this course...

I do agree with the other posters that you are going to have adjust your expectations for graduate school.  The main difference between undergraduate and graduate classes is that you are expected to be a much more independent learner which means that you need to take stock of your deficits and go proactively address them either through seeking out the resources independently, going to support services/centers, and/or getting advice/recommendations from advanced students in your program.  Ultimately, though, you are responsible for your learning.

I don't know how your grad support center works - but I know my writing center is about helping you to communicate your ideas well and it is not about checking whether you have completed the assignment per se which seems like was the problem based on your previous posts.  So perhaps you are expecting too much from this grad support center and this is not their function i.e. checking for assignment "completeness" ...

I agree with you, and understand about independent learning. Ive always been that way, but it seems the prof has expectations that are not clear.

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2 hours ago, eternallyephemeral said:

I understand you don't think you are looking for compliments, despite saying earlier that you are unhappy as none of your professors so far have complimented your work. It can be difficult to come from doing very well in undergrad to struggling in grad school, as the different program requires some adjustment. A lot of people have this issue from high school to undergrad, and again from undergrad to grad. You're not the only person facing this, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to be self-reflective.

You said the comments from professors make you feel worthless. No one can tell you that isn't how you are feeling, but that is not 100% about the professor. How they communicate and how you interpret their comments both interact to make you feel this way. And because sometimes you can't change how they communicate, you have to either get out of that relationship if you can, or change the way you interpret their comments to preserve your sanity. I would recommend the second one.

The writing centre should be very helpful, and you can always google what books to read. I don't think anyone else should need to tell you what books to read in graduate school, but if you want some recommendations on books about writing, here are some below:

APA 6th Edition Manual - even if you are not in psychology this is very helpful with writing introductions, discussions, formatting tables, figures, papers in general, and it gives you tips on style and word usage.

Elements of Style - William Strunk and E.B. White - this is the major book about how to write well. it has been around for almost 100 years and still holds true today.

Sense of Style: Scientific Writing in the 21st Century - Steven Pinker - this is an excellent book by an excellent writer, who talks about communicating clearly and without jargon/excessive complexity. Dr. Pinker also studies these topics in his research, and has great talks based on this book that you may be able to find on the computer.

I hope these are helpful. I use all three when I train editors that work for me at our undergrad journal.

That's great that you are determined to finish this program. My recommendations from my other post still stand, because they should be implemented whether or not you are staying. What you've been doing so far hasn't been working well for you, regardless of your marks (that's not what I'm referring to), so you should make some changes before things get even worse. We all have to improve and constantly evaluate how we're doing and how we're feeling, so don't just continue to do something if it causes you stress and if you feel worthless. Change it instead of 'dealing' with the misery.

Thank you for the books, those are exactly what I was looking for.

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For crissake dude it's one random elective. Just fucking drop it already.

That said, your attitude towards failure has got to go. You're obviously not doing well in this class, yet you can't even admit that to yourself. You know 70% isn't a good grade. You know that you failed a 25% assignment, and you know that getting the precise percentage on your paper isn't going to make a difference to your outcome because that F is already pulling you down significantly. Instead of doing something proactive to fix your situation, such as dropping the class or asking for extra credit or meeting with the professor and having a frank discussion without hints and insinuations and fortune-telling on tarot cards, you're focusing all your energies on denying that this is happening to you. It's okay to fail. It's okay to feel challenged. It's good that both of these things are happening to you because it means you're working to your potential. One of the big goals of graduate school is getting you to stop needing validation, whether for practical or emotional reasons, from grades and professors, and instead teaching you to make decisions based on your own thoughts and evaluation of the situation.

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On 3/21/2016 at 4:58 AM, ExponentialDecay said:

For crissake dude it's one random elective. Just fucking drop it already.

That said, your attitude towards failure has got to go. You're obviously not doing well in this class, yet you can't even admit that to yourself. You know 70% isn't a good grade. You know that you failed a 25% assignment, and you know that getting the precise percentage on your paper isn't going to make a difference to your outcome because that F is already pulling you down significantly. Instead of doing something proactive to fix your situation, such as dropping the class or asking for extra credit or meeting with the professor and having a frank discussion without hints and insinuations and fortune-telling on tarot cards, you're focusing all your energies on denying that this is happening to you. It's okay to fail. It's okay to feel challenged. It's good that both of these things are happening to you because it means you're working to your potential. One of the big goals of graduate school is getting you to stop needing validation, whether for practical or emotional reasons, from grades and professors, and instead teaching you to make decisions based on your own thoughts and evaluation of the situation.

Agreed. OP, I kind of feel like you're blaming the professor for the situation you're in. You might have a bad professor, but I think they've been totally reasonable and upfront with the information you've been given. Sending a flurry of panicked emails to the professor over halfway through a semester is no way to make a situation better for you. YOU should be the one requesting to meet with them, not the other way around. There is literally no reason (from what I can see) that you shouldn't drop the class, other than fear of some stigma of failure it might impart on you. I'd rather drop a class than have an F on my transcript, quite frankly. Get out of the hole before you get in too deep.

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14 hours ago, ExponentialDecay said:

Ah, you sweet summer child. The stupidity and delusion of some people truly knows no bounds. Such people also often find themselves asking individualized questions in anonymous internet forums.

I'm not saying the troll knows it's a troll.

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On 3/26/2016 at 4:20 AM, ExponentialDecay said:

Knowing that you are a troll is kind of an essential part of trolling, no? Trolling means intentionally riling people up by saying shit you know they won't like. I guess you could say we've been newbed?

You are probably a great deal of fun at parties.

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