And that's fine. If that's how the University wants to pay its Grad students so be it. Who am I to judge?
But when you have a TA that is extremely unhelpful to the point where it looks like she's trying to make your course unnecessarily difficult, that's just wrong.
Why are you doing this to us?
It seems like such a long time ago. Last week when I had all those papers due. Some of you might actually think that I dislike papers, that's not the case. I generally enjoy writing, I mean, I do own a blog right? Writing papers comes naturally to me, or maybe I've just had really good training.
So for my Developmental Psychology course, we were given the option of making a Developmental Psychology video or writing a research paper. Given my past ease with paper writing obviously I went with the paper. I don't want to act and talk to a camera for all my classmates to see.
Within a week, I wish I had done the video project.
And a large part of it was due to the TA. I don't think she really knew what she was doing or what she wanted from us. For example, she wanted us to review some stuff, write a paper on it and submit. Most of us assumed it was going to be like the paper our prof assigned us earlier so we wrote in a fairly informal style.
And we all lost marks on it. They was no indication that the TA wanted something written in APA format (basically, scientific Psychology paper style), no rubric whatsoever. And actually the same thing happened with the final paper. No concrete indication of what she expected or wanted. I can assure you, it is quite difficult to write a paper when you don't know what exactly is expected of you.
JUST TELL US WHAT YOU WANT.
Ok, I know some of you are saying, "Damian, so why didn't you just go and talk to her". Fine, completely reasonable IF she was ever available. Twice, I went to see her at her office during her scheduled hours. Twice she wasn't there. Turns out, her hours were wrong. And she didn't bother to inform us until the term was NEARLY OVER.
She also gave us a phone number to call (she never responded to any of the voice messages I left her), and an email address (that she never replied to) BUT eventually I got my meeting with her.
Because I ran into her in a hallway. And we had an impromptu meeting right there.
I could make a second post about all the crap this woman didn't help us with. There's a lot, I've barely scratched the surface. A vague, confusing project that probably required more work than necessary and supervisor that was unhelpful and largely unavailable. I mean, during the week that this paper was due, she sent us an email in advance telling us she would have no office hours. At all. I didn't even bother emailing her for help, she probably wouldn't have responded.
Luckily, several of us have come forth to the prof who was surprised and concerned. For our troubles this paper will be marked much easier and the TA will be getting "constructive criticism" in May.
And I'm glad, I have never spent so much time writing something and felt so insecure about it.