Monday: Grading, nanobot seminar, TA silliness and mirror on the wall
So, I wasn't going to write, because I'm suffocating in work this week, but I'll make it quick, maybe. Funny things happened. I was so ticked, I found out over the weekend that I left all my papers from the students for my orgo lab and my lab notebook at EMORY. So I couldn't grade them or anything. *headdesk* *fumes*
I decided not to be too upset, despite everything. The Lord helped me be peaceful anyway. I went to bioorganic - it was interesting as usual. I wrote up a tentative schedule for the week so I don't die. Graded papers all afternoon - they were 3-4 pages each, twenty-two students, and I didn't want to skimp on the comments, so it took me a while. I always hated getting papers back with no comments. I wanted to be very specific and helpful. Mr. McCormick gave us a sample paper and I cleared up a few other things with him in the meeting.
Seminar about nanomotors and nanobots
This was a fascinating seminar - but I had trouble following some of it - which frustrated me. My mind was going in a million places at once today and that didn't help. He's a professor from Penn state who has over 400 publications! I tried to fathom this number. I could not.
I've never seen anyone do stuff like he's doing. He's making tiny pumps by taking advantage of chemical gradients. I really want to understand how he turned enzymes into pumps - I wasn't understanding that very well. Khalid asked a lot of questions about it - I thought I could see what he was getting at, perhaps, by asking those - those were good questions. But he obviously understands it a lot better than I do. Grrr. I have to read some papers by that guy. His research is intriguing. I don't know if I'd like doing such research - but definitely intriguing. Khalid seemed happy today. I was glad. It always makes me really happy when he looks happy.
TAing orgo: Lulu thinks I'm "mean" and likes it and the students are sad
I didn't quite get the papers graded in time for lab - I had about 7-8 left. I apologized to the students and told them what stupid thing I did - they didn't seem incredibly offended - I really hope they are not. One of them even said, oh! Don't worry about it! You're getting you're pH.D.!" As if that was hallowed ground. "And we're just a side-show." I was like, "!" No, no. Students are wonderful peoples, not side-shows. They must learn things! I will not make this evil mistake again. Never again. Besides, they're not having papers graded properly had nothing to do with "getting a pH.D." It had to do with "Jessica being dumb." Yes, yes. I know the difference.
I tried to grade some in lab - which I know is evil - but I really wanted to give as many people back papers as possible. But I didn't get much done because I had a steady stream of students asking me questions the whole time. Fortunately, it was an easy lab - IR and doing bp of an unknown liquid. Tom, the prep guy, showed me how to use this IR. Wow. It's so much smaller than Oxford's IR. I didn't know they could be that small. Oxford's is probably pretty old. Also, this was the first time Mr. McCormick was actually around for our lab - he had dinner engagements with speakers the other two times. It was weird having him float around and I felt slightly nervous. But I'm glad he was there, because I asked him a bunch of stuff.
Lulu, my undergrad TA is the best! She's also hilarious. And silly. And mischievous. I have to make sure sometimes she doesn't joke around to students - she scares/worries some of them by accident sometimes - and I just tell them - don't listen to her! She's just messing with you! But she really takes care of a lot for me and helps me out so much and always makes me laugh.
She looked at my stack of graded papers and was like - OoooOOOOO! PAPERS! And snatched them up, curled up and sifted through them to read my comments, with a maniacal expression. She came back, shortly, to my table where I continued to grade and said, "Mwahahahaahaha! - I thought you'd be just SO nice, like rainbows, puppies and kittens, and say, 'ooohhhh! I'll give you a 10 for EFFORT!' But you were MEAN! You wrote all these harsh comments with red everywhere and failed almost everyone! Then you put smiley faces everywhere so they didn't feel horrible about themselves." I said, I was not mean! You looked at my comments right - they were very reasonable.
I went about explaining myself. Mr. McCormick has a high standard and I agree with it completely. He said most people would fail this round - they get a 9 or 10 or rewrite; then next week, an 8, a 7 or rewrite. It's a very reasonable system. I know what he wants and they SHOULD be held to a high standard. And some of them were pretty bad, unfortunately. I was appalled that two people did not even understand that the experiment they were analyzing was separate from the TLC and another person that it was molecule size that made the compounds travel up the TLC plates. But, those were rarities. Most people did in the middle.
Lulu said, no, she liked this unexpected "mean Jessica" system and I should keep being mean the whole semester! She worked with another Jessica before who was all puppies and rainbows and was glad that I was more mean. She said this in a very mischievous and maniacal way - I was amused.
Students got their papers back and were generally sad, she noted in her mischievous way. Unfortunately it was true. But I explained to them all that this was expected and normal! Don't be sad! I tried to tell them this was good for them; Mr. McCormick's standards were high. I wish they wouldn't have read my comments in front of me, right after getting their paper. I felt self-conscious, thinking ... *facepalm* Do you have to read them here? I guess they probably do sound kind of harsh. *cringe* I hate watching students get sad, reading my comments. I tried to reassure them and make them happier, but they still looked mostly sad. There were six people who got 9's out of the 17 of the 22 I graded. That's really not bad, I thought. I've heard of worse. Lulu makes too much of these things. I'm going to finish grading the rest tomorrow and give them to the students in the afternoon.
Something happened to the women's restroom
There was this gigantic crash and Hill lab people were looking around worriedly for what had happened, as I was racing to lab. I hadn't heard anything. Well, I found out what it was. The mirror in the women's bathroom completely fell off the wall and broke into a million pieces! I was amazed - it's pretty spectacular. I bet the construction jiggling loosened it. And that's all the silly for today!