This was the time I studied under a bigoted professor, withstood harassment, stood up to racial slurs, received unjustified grades, re-entered myself into a mental hospital and came to a conclusion that it is always easier to be brave for other people.
(I hasten to add that this happened a year or two ago; I only write about it now because I am able to be objective enough to not start crying about it.)
From the very beginning, I should have been much wiser in my selection of universities. I suppose at the time I enrolled myself in a dodgy local university because I needed time to do my own thing, which is to finish my first book. I knew that I could slack off in said university, which I, of course, ended up not doing. I couldn’t stand not having perfect grades.
All of that, however, went downhill when a new professor came into the picture and decided to give me an F in my creative writing course, because I wasn’t the stereotypical ‘submissive Asian’ who would just sit around allowing an incompetent American expat, who is barely qualified, teach. He got a dodgy Master’s Degree but absolutely no ethics. I soon found that he made a lot of mistakes which I refrained myself from correcting, for the first time I did very politely, it wounded his ego so badly that he failed me on my next assignment.
It was unfair treatment. He was corrupting education. He was discouraging students from reading and furthering their interests by looking down on them. One of my classmates came crying to me because of him.
Before I knew it, I found myself receiving horrible grades on all my work. I am the sort of person who is very easily discouraged, and the professor’s behaviour wounded me. Still, I trudged on with a heavy heart, until one day, I witnessed him bullying my peers, and I mean bullying. He was barking mad, I am telling you. I walked into him shouting at a student in a remote area near the fire exit, and it definitely didn’t make him look any better that the student was black and he was white. Now, I don’t know if that was racism or what, but I am sure that it isn’t right, for a teacher to be doing that to a student.
That was when I cast my tolerance out the window, watch it splat on the pavement and then set it on fire.
I have had enough.
It also didn’t help that during the next class, this teacher dragged me out of the classroom by my arm to that same remote area near the elevator and then started to berate me the same way he did to that girl. This is harassment.
“What is your problem?” he demanded.
Now, I suppose I found it strange that a teacher would say something like that, but then again he couldn’t be that much older than me, so I suppose I didn’t find it that strange, that he was speaking informally all of a sudden. Or, it might be a reflection of his mental age for all I know.
“Sorry?” I asked him.
Apparently, he didn’t like that I wasn’t listening to him in class, which I promise you, I was. I am not a rude person, and I am so polite that I never give anybody who is older than me any kind of attitude. I was taught to be polite even in times of anger. My anger is cold. I rarely let it consume me. But you can call it an Asian sense of propriety if you like.
Unbeknownst to Male-Umbridge, I was taking down notes in class, but he was accusing me of ignoring him (a bit like what happened to Harry Potter on his first day in Snape’s class). When I told him I was taking down notes, he wouldn’t believe me and then went on to threaten to fail me on my participation score, which at this point, I tell you, is not going to really affect my grades much, because my perfect 4.0 GPA was so wounded that I couldn’t hope to recover from it. All right, I am getting a little emotional as I write this even though I promised myself I would get over this mistreatment by 2016.
You may think, “What’s so wrong with a wounded GPA? I mean if it drops a little, it’s not the end of the world, is it?”
You are right. It probably isn’t as bad as my brain makes it seem, but I should probably note that during that time, I was taking medication for Anxiety-Depressive Disorder. Before that, I had just recovered from a 17-pills a day forced medication for my Bipolar Disorder with Perfectionistic Tendencies. So yes, that GPA was the world to me. And if you wonder whether or not that wounded GPA still affects me, I would say that yes, it still does.
Only because I am trying to apply to a few universities in the UK, and having such a drastic GPA drop in my transcript is not helping my situation in the least. To boot, I do not have normal qualifications to begin with. I have no A-Levels, no GCSE, not even OWLs or NEWTs. What I have is a GED which is pretty much irrelevant to the UK education system.
This rather rocky education road is due to health issues and unsound mental state. I regret it.
My hopes of getting into a good university is none at the moment. I do not know how much my work experience will help me, or if I can negotiate for a place using my achievements/life experience/portfolio. It is just extremely depressing to think about.
To top that off, I am an aspie. Although, I do not require Special Needs, I do not know how much the knowledge of my circumstance will affect the universities’ decision. It is so worrying.
Anyway, back to Male Umbridge. I think I will stop recounting all his horrible action and its depressing consequences. Exposing him to his bare bones isn’t something I want to do. I suppose, even if this particular situation still affects me, I have got to the point where I rather feel sorry for him as a fellow human being. After a year of torment at that university and receiving horrible grades, which do not in any way reflect my intelligence (I believe), I left.
The last I heard, he isn’t teaching there any more, so I am happy for all the students who no longer have to endure a tormented learning experience. On the other hand, I feel sorry for all the future universities that hire him. I hope he improves as a human being and gets over whatever it is that is tying him down mentally.
Or, the child in me hopes he gets captured by a herd of centaurs and no more will the human world have to deal with such a disappointing educator.
I want to get into a good university now and study Literature for the sake of Literature. I want to learn things and study hard. Most of all, I want to put my life together. The road to becoming my ideal person is a tough one, but hopefully with a little luck, a lot of diligence and wisdom, I will get there.