Crazy college stories

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gnome
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Crazy college stories

Post by gnome »

Suggested by xouper.

If willing, include the name of the school and the year--that's how I noticed xouper and I both went to USF.

I'll kick it off with what I posted to the other thread that got it started:
gnome wrote: I was in the math department [at USF] from '91 to '93 for my BA, then copped out of higher math and got an MBA two years later. But I guess it's possible we ran into each other at some point.

I never had any classes from Dr. Zerla himself. The biggest thing I remember was that we discovered partway into my last semester that I was going to be short one class worth of credits for graduation. So he arranged for me to enroll for a first-year course in logic and set theory, material that I was already way beyond. It was at the same time as one of my other classes, but that didn't matter because we knew I would ace the tests, and he could arrange separate times for me to take them. So I was handed a late add approval form, a course overload approval form, and the time-turner a schedule conflict approval form. When I brought them to the registrar she was astonished and asked where the hell I had gotten the forms. But it got worked out. I like to joke that in order to graduate I had to break every registration rule.
I should mention it went just as well as I planned--the material was old hat to me, "studying" consisted of flipping through the appropriate section for about 15 minutes to remind myself the formal names and symbols for things, and if I didn't get a perfect score on every test including the final, I came close.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2
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ed
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by ed »

Lightheartedness in college. Luxury.

We studied for 80 hours or more a week. We were tested hourly and if you did not pass, well, let's just say that everyone passed.

nothing to laugh at. We all knew that things were really going to get bad after graduation. Work. The definition engraved, Dachu like, over the portal of the college was

"Work: It is so awful they have to pay you to do it"

So keep your frivolous stories to yourself.
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gnome
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by gnome »

If it helps, at community college I was in a notoriously difficult and in-depth two-year interdisciplinary study series coving all the usual basics in a unified form except for math and science. History, humanities, philosophy, literature, speech, film, theology, all rolled together and going era by era all the way up to World War 2. We had massive reading lists, long lectures, the occasional field trip to see some architecture, art, or classical plays. There were extensive and frequent writing assignments--they advised us at the start that we didn't even need to bother counting for the "Gordon Rule" because we were going to leave it in the dust. I think I was doing a term-paper sized project each quarter, and that was outside the weekly and day-to-day writing assignments. Insanely difficult tests--primarily consisting of fill-in-the-blank and essay questions. When we were studying Dante, some wiseass hung a sign over the door on examination day marked "abandon hope all ye who enter here".

I managed to push out B's in the classes, but it was the hardest coursework I had ever done, and ever would until I got into my most advanced math classes in fourth year. It was exhausting, and quite rewarding really. I think I would have had trouble getting as thorough a classical education if I had gone straight to the university first.
Last edited by gnome on Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2
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Skeeve
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by Skeeve »

One of the best songs about college...a few stories in this one...

Then Skank Of America could start in...
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xouper
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by xouper »

gnome wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:30 pm If willing, include the name of the school and the year--that's how I noticed xouper and I both went to USF.

I'll kick it off with what I posted to the other thread that got it started:
Then perhaps I could be forgiven for quoting here what I posted right before yours (now buried in obscurity in that other thread), which is how we found out we both went to University of South Florida in the 1990s. And the same math department, no less. Small world, eh?
xouper wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 2:55 pm
gnome wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 2:17 pm . . . My academic advisor was Dr. Zerla. One of my favorite professors was Dr. Oberste-Vorth.
I took Calculus 1 from Zerla. Then Calc 2 and 3 from Saito who was a rookie at the time.

If you go to the math department chair office, in Saito's file there still might be a (small) paperback book I wrote called The Hitchhiker's Guide to Calculus 2 (copyright 1996), with a chapter named: "Saito's Solution by Accident Theorem". Funny stuff, if I say so myself.

I was the class clown, and one of the students suggested I write all that crap in a book. So I did, and had several dozen copies printed to hand out at the end of the term. Apparently the department chair thought it was a worthy tribute to the professor, so he put it in Saito's department file.

Zerla finally caught me writing smart ass math stuff on the board before class and asked me to stop. Example, one day I wrote on the board before class: "There are three kinds of people, those who can count and those who can't". I clearly remember Stephanie coming in and sitting next to me (as she usually did), and she looked at the board, and then turned to me and asked, "What's the third kind?" And then suddenly she got it. :lol:

Ah, those were the good ol' days.

When I applied for grad school (elsewhere), Saito wrote me a letter of recommendation.

Anyway, getting back to your opening post:
gnome wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:15 pm . . . So I was handed a late add approval form, a course overload approval form, and the time-turner a schedule conflict approval form. When I brought them to the registrar she was astonished and asked where the hell I had gotten the forms. But it got worked out. I like to joke that in order to graduate I had to break every registration rule.
I love stories like that, especially where you get around certain rules that really shouldn't be in your way in the first place. I imagine others here have their own crazy stories about "sidestepping" the rules in college. I've done it a few times myself . . .

Since you still had to do the course work or prove you knew your stuff, I don't consider that to be "cheating". Some colleges have a formal procedure to simply test your way out of taking a class (for example, CLEP). Hey, if you already know the material, then why not?
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xouper
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by xouper »

gnome wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:41 pm If it helps, at community college . . .
Hey, nothing wrong with community college. Just ask Dr Jill Biden. (just kidding) :P

Been there myself. Once.

After I got my bachelors, I wanted to take a writing course to actually work on improving my writing. In hindsight, I can't really say I could write any better as a result. So I went to the local community college and enrolled in "Composition 101", because previously I never really did more than the minimum required to pass. So, silly me, I thought I would take the freshman course to actually learn something.

So on day one, I asked the professor if he would give me a writing assignment every class session. I said it was the only class I was taking, and I sincerely wanted to learn to write better. Perhaps not surprisingly, he eyed me skeptically. But he gave me daily essay assignments that the rest of the class didn't do. After grading several of these, he called me aside and told me he would not be able to grade me on the same standard as the other students. I was confused. And then he explained, my writing was already past the level expected of freshman college students. So I asked, can I stay in the class anyway and keep doing daily writing assignments? He said sure.

Fast forward to graduate school a bunch of years later, and another crazy story about writing term papers . . .

Anyone else got crazy or funny stories from college?
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gnome
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by gnome »

Business school for my MBA was a blend of difficult and easy classes. My favorite of the "easy" variety was International Finance. It SHOULD have been a difficult class. Its undergraduate prerequisite required a decent amount of study and mathematics. The class was taught by an aging professor who would start to give us the material, and then get sidetracked telling us old stories. We'd hear about his trip to a Thai village, or the time he spoke to Lyndon Johnson on the phone, or of trying to adapt to new sexual harassment rules. You never knew what you were going to get. We theoretically had assignments, but I don't recall working on them much. I don't remember ever being tested, and yet got an A anyway. I presume everyone did. It may be that anyone that might have needed a more serious treatment changed professors, and nobody else wanted to complain. The guy was clearly on the doorstep of retirement and didn't give a damn.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2
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xouper
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Re: Crazy college stories

Post by xouper »

My first attempt to get admitted to grad school is a crazy example of bypassing the rules.

After I got my undergrad degree (BABA: Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration — that's yet another weird but boring story), I wasn't sure whether I wanted to continue on into grad school. Maybe, maybe not.

At the time I was already established in my career as a software engineer, and I wasn't all that interested in moving into management, blah blah blah . . .

"Hey grampa, get to the fun part, eh?"

OK . . .

So in the meantime I registered for just one grad school course at University of Illinois - Chicago, called "Programing Language Design". It was a theory class, which assumed a bigly pile of academic pre-requisites, none of which I had, other than my professional experience. Nada, zip. But the professor graciously let me in anyway, warning me, if you think you can handle it, then fine with him, and if I fail, that's on me not him. As I was a paying customer, they get their money either way.

Here's the good part:

Halfway through the term I got a letter from the school saying I would not be allowed to register next term unless I got officially admitted into the grad school. I wasn't prepared for that. I mean, if I want to just keep taking classes for the fun of it, then why can't I? I'm a cash customer. Is it any skin off their nose?

But nooOOOOooo . . . they got "regulations". :roll:

So I showed the letter to the professor and he said, don't worry, just submit the application (with check) and you're good. I asked how does that work, and he told me he's on the admissions committee. He told me that because I was by far the best student in his class, he had no qualms about admitting me.

Wow. They must have low standards. :P

But hey, it's University of Illinois, a highly reputable school, no?

So I did, and I still have the formal admission letter from UIC. They waived the GRE requirement, no letters of recommendation necessary, no nothing. I pretty much skirted all the usual admissions rules and requirements.

But because I moved to Florida shortly after that, I never took any more classes at UIC.

Oh well. How's that song go? Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.