You know those times when you have a professor and it's clear that on some level he/she does not care for you as a student? I've always heard students say it but I never actually experienced it... Until now.
This past semester I had the unfortunate experience of having a professor who very clearly did not like me. And it made my experience in her class utterly horrible.
During class, it was never made very obvious that my professor didn't like me. I stayed fairly quiet, and when I did talk I tried to make sure I knew what I was talking about so that I wasn't met with any criticism; however, one-on-one meetings and reviews of my work are where the dislike for me shone through.
Despite how confident I felt about my papers and presentations, I was always met with harsh criticism. You're probably thinking: "This is college. Of course, the professor is going to criticize the work." Normally, you would be right! I want my professors to give me advice on how to make papers better, or tell me that I could have done something specific to make my work more efficient. I don't care for passive aggressive comments, however, and I don't appreciate a professor belittling me or my work by saying I "obviously didn't put enough time into [it]" or "I can't really help you until you know more about what you're going to write." It's especially discouraging when I'm making an effort to do well.
There's a line between constructive criticism and just making me feel bad about the effort I'm putting into my work. Especially when I really am trying. This professor even went so far as to say: "You're really making things difficult" when I could only meet with her in the afternoons after 4:30 (even though our regular class time isn't until 6 pm). She also hinted that I should choose between keeping my day job (that's helping me advance my career) and staying in Graduate School, but not to continue doing both. Who says that?!
It got to the point where I refused to meet with my professor to discuss the final paper because I knew she would only have something negative to say, instead of actually giving me advice on my work. This semester I went from feeling like a good student to feeling like I shouldn't even bother with school.
But I didn't give up.
Thankfully, I made it through the semester without letting this professor completely cripple my spirits. I turned in my final paper with my head held high and I'm never looking back! The professor who thought she could break me only helped me gain a thicker skin for the semesters to come!
And for that, I thank you.