Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not Being a Catholic in a Catholic School

...or a liberal in a catholic school.
I go to a private little catholic university that nobody has heard of in historic Dubuque, Iowa. This school is run by nuns. For the most part, it is a a wonderful conservative liberal arts school. Lots of upsides to it. Including the fact that, because my dad works here as chair of the Physical Therapy dept (the largest dept at Clarke, btw), I get a large tuition remission. Aka, I go to school for [practically] free.
For the most part, I haven't had many problems when it comes to tolerance of my religion and views. Up until this semester, that is.
College has not be unreasonably stressful until I was cornered into taking a class I did not want to take. I did not realize that I really did not want to take this class until it was too late, and now I am stuck. And there seems to be no way out.
The professor (I suppose I should say the associate professor....she has worked here 17 years, has a PhD and is still not a full professor...) assigned us a last-minute assignment to completely splurge our gut response, or in her terms, "word vomit", on a response paper to an extremely long article on women, their roles in education through history and their importance now. With a feminist approach.
To see my response, check out my facebook note.
I did not expect this paper to cause as much of a fuss as it has already.
I ended up meeting with the teacher, by her request. I opposed at first, saying I would like to have the meeting with my advisor, and my advisor said she would like to do it in her own office. The teacher refused, saying she wanted to meet with only me and in her own office.
So I went. I was scared going, because I was not sure what to expect. I suspected that maybe I was being too dramatic by being so nervous, but I soon learned I should have been more than scared. I should have gone in with more courage than she has rationality (which is not hard to do). However, I didn't, and the hour-long meeting was by far the worst hour I have ever spent here at Clarke University.
She concluded the meeting hoping I had learned something.
Well Ms..we'll call her Ms Smith (that's common and discreet enough).. here is what I learned, based off of what you told me:
I am crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. For taking 17 hours. (the maximum you can take without paying extra is 18...paying extra you can take no more than 21.) She looked me in the eye and called me "crazy".
Unless I learn to change my attitude and value on other people's opinions, and the fact that there are people out there who will disagree with me and not be rational about it (ahem..exhibit A..Ms Smith...), I will be a failure in life.
My opinion doesn't matter (this was an opinion paper!!!!!), and I will not be successful if I continue to have such an ignorant, snotty, rebellious, republican attitude.
I need to learn to not take offense to things I disagree with (but it's completely ok for Ms Smith to throw a hissy fit over my disagreement to her assignment. Yep, all is well-thought-out and logical upstairs for Ms Smith.)
I should plan on taking 6 years to graduate. (aka I'm slow from my health and not too smart. BULL! This lady knows NOTHING of music education and the way it works.)
I may end up being a 34 year old returning to live at home with my parents because of the way this economy is going and because of how long I should take in school and the likelihood of my success in a career because of my health. I guess nobody is going to want to ever marry me and I'll be a complete failure in all job opportunities. Hmm. Thanks for giving me the heads up, Ms Smith! Appreciate it! In all seriousness now, I actually take that as a form of discrimination against myself as having a disability and being told I will not make it very far. I am hurt. Offended. (but wait, I have no need to be offended because she has a PhD, as she very forwardly reminded me, so she knows what she's talking about. As an undergrad, I'm just a moron.) Yes, I have a health disability. I have complete confidence that I will be successful in whatever path I choose as a career, because I know how to work hard within my limits. That is smart. Many healthy people don't understand that they too, have limits. But I know mine, and I know how to disperse my time and energy efficiently. I also have passion. And focus. I am determined and strong. I am a leader and am NOT a push-over. I am many more qualities that will help me become a successful person in life.
One waste-of-time-and-energy opinion paper and one person who likes to throw hissy fits to make her look smarter is NOT going to keep me from fulfilling my dreams.

I would not be taking this so seriously if I did not feel threatened that my work will be unfairly judged from this point on in the class and will therefor have a negative impact on my GPA. My fears of this are valid. My advisor (and many many many many many other parents/faculty members) has told me that this is not the first time this kind of problem arose with this teacher and a student, and every single time she has been uncooperative and unfair. This will more than likely not be the last time, either. But my plan is to fight this. Fight this, and probably lose. But this "fight" will go on record...as it has in the past...and someday, because I, and many other brave students in the past, have stood up to her, some future bright and brave student will win and shut her and her ego-driven madness down.

Point is, with this teacher and the system she works in with many other faculty members, I do not feel welcome with my opinions and beliefs, since I am neither catholic nor liberal. They claim to be open and welcoming...but I guess that's only if you agree with them.

And I'm learning that unfortunately, much of the world works this way.
I want to change that.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like she has some issues. I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with it! Good for you for staying positive and strong!! We think you're great!! <3