The first month of University is peppered with pep talks and ego boosters. It creates a definite contradiction, a clash. One minute the Profs are discussing proper behavior, and the next they’re going on about how we’re the chosen people. It’d be awfully confusing, except I know that we’re not the chosen people, so at least I have some clarity.
The profs are constantly saying things like, “ You guys should be so proud . The program that you’re in requires one of the highest grade point averages in the entire school! Most of you are 90+ students….”
I got into the program with a whopping 91.5% grade point average that I earned by taking 5 art classes in Grade 12 and dropping math. True academic excellence right there. Either I’m an imposter or there’s a flaw in their admission process. Based on student contributions to the class, I’m inclined to believe the latter.
“Does anyone have questions about the program?” One prof asks the room.
A boy raises his hand, “How is the program going to help us work as a cohesive unit?” he asks.
A hush falls over the room, as my peers whisper to one another, “Wow, he sounds smart!”
I wait to see if the prof will fall for it too. He doesn’t, “That’s actually not my job, it’s the responsibility of all of you to work well in groups,” he deadpans.
I grin. The class continues. There’s a powerpoint on the screen about when to, and when not to email the Prof. This power point came into being because in the first week of school alone our poor prof almost drowned in emails. The next twenty minutes are spent explaining that it’s not the prof’s responsibility to change our diapers, so only email him for legitimate questions.
The class closes with “ You guys are all 90+ students and we know that you’ll do very well.” I look at my schedule but there’s no math class for me to drop.
The following day we have a Seminar in which receive another pep talk, but this time it’s from our TA, accompanied by yet another powerpoint. She informs us that University is going to be a transition, especially for us, the creme de la creme of High School grade point averages.
It’s really quite simple she informs us–simple math–have we heard of the freshman 15? Yes? “Well what that means is not only will you gain 15 pounds your freshman year but your grade point average will also drop by 15%.” She pauses, “But wait, that’s for most people, you guys came in with much higher grade point averages than the average. The majority of you are 90+ students and that just means that you have a much longer ways to fall.”
I look around the room at the worried expression of my peers, noting that my expression doesn’t match their’s in the slightest. I have trouble mustering up excitement for grades. I refuse to be contained in a number. Afterall, I dropped math on moral grounds.
The TA opens the powerpoint. Each slide contains a stupid quote that students, like us, have said to TA’s and Profs. Indicating one quote, she shakes her head, “Nope, just because you pay for University doesn’t mean that you deserve good marks. Our job at Ryerson isn’t to give you good marks. Our job is to make sure that you don’t turn into a whole bunch of little Donald Trumps.”
I choke on my water. She continues to talk about how Donald Trump is a prick and we really wouldn’t want to be anything like him.
I almost forget that I’m in Canada, and not the States. The politics feel so close to home…but then I remember: back home we only gain 10 pounds freshman year, and in Canada we gain 15. It’s always the exchange rate that gets you. Even I know that, and I dropped math.