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There is a lot of bullshit that goes in to the first day of a class, but this is especially true for small seminars. Lame icebreakers, overly-long professor autobiographies, going over self-explanatory syllabi, but most of these are okay if they delay the actual learning. The worst, most inexcusable thing seminar professors ask is some version of the question: Why did you decide to take this course?

This question is awful mainly for two reasons: 1) It forces me to participate, and who doesn’t hate that shit, and 2) Every single answer is a lie.

To explain, I have created a translation chart below of a few of the different possible answers to this question.

Answer

Translation

In my undergraduate degree I studied blah-di-blah, and this course seemed to tie-in well with that topic, in that blah blah blah… This is a small seminar, and so the B-median doesn’t apply. I want an A.
I have taken mostly practical, or “bar” courses in my law school career, and I wanted to take a course that I found more interesting and “fun.” This is a small seminar, and so the B-median doesn’t apply. I want an A.
I felt like this was a topic that I knew very little about, and is not the type of thing I usually pursue. I think ultimately it will be interesting, but also make me a more well rounded lawyer. This is a small seminar, and so the B-median doesn’t apply. I want an A.
I wanted to take a seminar. I’m the most honest person in this motherfucker. (And maybe too lazy to come up with a plausible lie.)

Update: Prof just said, “You guys are awesome and I love you. Everyone gets an A!” and the student behind me whispered, “Great! That’s why I took this course.” I knew it!

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