A pitiful class

A bit more personal post today since this is something that has really challenged my diplomatic skills these past couple of days: people who make no effort and expect to get your results for free.

Throughout my studies so far I have had the privilege of being around fairly ambitious people. I always wanted to do my best for my own personal pride, to give a good impression to the professor, and to not be a burden to my colleagues. Thankfully most of the others in my programme shared that attitude so the courses were always very dynamic.

Therefore I’m experiencing a downright culture shock in my new MSc and I’m wondering what exactly happened to the class I’m in now. I really don’t know if they do read and understand, but just don’t feel the need to contribute or if they are genuinely lost and so far behind the curve that they can no longer see the curve.

The drop that made it all overflow is that I was assigned to a team presentation to be held this upcoming Monday. Since our class is fairly new, our prof called us down to the front of the room in a break so we could make our introductions and exchange contact information. Only one other person showed up, an exchange student. We were supposed to be about 10 people making a 1 hour presentation based on a comparative analysis of 11 verdicts in total.
When the class started again, the prof encouraged people coordinate with me and made me wave my hand so people would know who I am. That’s how we gained a team member who was not even supposed to be in our group, but nevertheless wanted to join. The remaining people never got back to us. Yes, if all had replied, it would make for a bit crowded group, but could they at least have had a sense of decency and replied to the mail we sent after class?
I was ashamed when facing the exchange student yesterday and told her I was just as shocked as her…

As a concept I don’t mind team work. People have different perspectives and they might point out something new I had not thought about – assuming they read and show up that is.

A week has passed, and yesterday we actually wrote to our professor and informed him that we had been very discouraged by the apathy of the class, but recognising that we can learn a lot from the excise, we would like to do all of the work on our own anyway and deliver an analysis to him without sharing it with the class. He was understanding of the additional work load and our disappointment with our colleagues, but suggested we pick the verdicts we like the most and then do a short presentation, ignoring the initial scope if we prefer.

We will naturally do a presentation as our professor requested, but we will base it on knowing the material by heart. No slides to support us equals no slides to share afterwards. If the others want notes, they can damn well write their own.


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