And now, they plead for an "F"...
A student from my history course appeared at my office yesterday with an odd request: "Could you give me an 'F,' please?"
She looked a bit nervous, which puzzled me. Why the nervousness if she wanted an "F"?
I asked her name and looked at her attendance. She'd missed the past five lectures and hadn't handed in her thesis statement.
"You don't plan to turn in an essay?" I asked.
"Then," I observed, "why would you expect anything but an 'F'?"
"Some professors give a 'D' or a 'C' instead," she said.
"And those are worse than an 'F'?" I asked.
"Yes," she explained, "because an 'F' doesn't count."
"What do you mean?"
"An 'F' doesn't appear on the transcript," she clarified.
"I see. Then," I concluded, "an 'F' doesn't mean anything."
She agreed, and we sat in silence for a moment, which I broke by observing, "Well, if I had a position of power, I would change that policy. An 'F' should mean something. It should mean failure. Anyway, I assign grades that students earn. You've earned an 'F,' so you'll get an 'F.'"
She looked relieved and thanked me.
Students: an "F" for "Fantasy"Students imagine a world without consequences, and the university foolishly confirms their fantasy.
University: an "F" for "Folly"