My Life Is Like One Ridiculously Complex HP Maze

Apparently, since it was all implied and not spoken outright, I didn’t completely understand what happened at the meeting between me and the 3 profs.   I came away from that meeting shaken and crying hysterically.  I didn’t know that it was the end of the road though.

They said to me that if I were doing my internship that semester, then they wouldn’t be able to approve me for it.  I took that to mean that I had another chance to make things better and rise to their standards, whatever they may be.  Apparently (I keep using that word, don’t I) they’ve had issues with me for a while, but just now decided to tell me any of them.  So it doesn’t really matter that this particular thing happened.  If it hadn’t have been this, it would have been something else.

This past Monday I had another meeting.  This time, however, it was just between me and Dr. _________.  Well, I say just . . .

S/he emails me last Friday asking what time would be good for me to meet with me on Monday.  I say, “well, if I rearrange my work schedule, I can come at 2pm.”  So the meeting gets set up and I go.  I knock on the door precisely at 2, and s/he comes to the door.  It kind of freaked me out, because s/he was smiling at me.  S/he never smiles at me.  That should have been enough of a warning.

I walk into the room and realize with a small start that the head of the department, Dr. ________ is sitting there.  My prof points at Dr. ________ and says, “Oh I hope you don’t mind.  I invited Dr. ______ to be here today.”

Being that I don’t know what the meeting’s about, I just merely nod and “okay,” in a slightly bewildered tone.

“Take any seat you want,” my prof says.

Seat nearest door, I thought to myself, sitting down nervously.

Prof sits down and says to me, “It seems that you’re unhappy with me as your advisor.  So if you want to change, feel free to.”


Of all the scenarios I was contemplating being faced with, this was not one of them.

“Okay?”  I respond in a questioning tone.

But no answers, no explanations come.  They just sit there and stare at me brightly.  I don’t say yes, because I have the sense that if I get cut loose from her and then try to switch to the other MT prof, I’ll be met with a blank wall of refusal.  And then I would just be outta luck.  Thus, I don’t want to say yes until I’m sure that someone else will take me.

They stare at me for a bit longer until I start making pointing motions at the door.  “Should I . . .?  Should I . . . ?” It went on like that for a bit until my prof said with an exaggerated start, “Oh!  You may go.”


And I get out of there and proceed to wander the halls like a dazed war victim.  People keep coming up to me asking, “Are you okay?  You look really out of it.”  And I answer that I don’t know if I’m okay.  I don’t know.

So I email the other prof that night and ask if I can be hir advisee and s/he writes back with the message that we need to talk.

Thursday comes around and I go endure yet another meeting.  Strange that for a faculty that the month before barely took notice of my existence to suddenly have a great hankering to speak with me all of the time.

I knock and walk in, asking if I should close the door.

“Yes, I guess you better.”  Umm???  I might be stupid about picking up certain types of clues, but even I caught the strangeness of that statement.  Instantly I was on guard.

One of the first things s/he asked me was what Dr. ______ said to me in the other meeting.  I repeated what I wrote above, and s/he asked me, “Was that all?”  Yes?

Well, it turns out that the statement about them not approving me for internship wasn’t just a temporary thing; rather it was a permanent position on their part.

S/he said to me in that meeting that I could continue on with the program if I wanted to, but without their recommendations I would never get into an internship and therefore never graduate.  Just that simple.  S/he went on to emphasize that internship was really hard, and that I just wouldn’t make it in that setting.  S/he said that if they were to let me do an internship, my supervisor would be calling hir within the first week.

One of the things they called attention to at the meeting the week before was my tendency to apparently internalize other people’s pains and then in turn, try to speak for them without waiting to see them stand up for themselves?

S/he used an example of something that had happened the day before.  In my class with the prof that I had the meeting with on that Monday, one of my friends was in the process of getting sick.  By the time of the class, she was running a fever significant enough to turn her face bright pink and make her eyes look “glassy” as they often describe it.

During the class, our prof called on her for some role playing that we were doing that day, and I quipped that she was running a fever and pretty sick.  I was thinking that our prof ought to know about her sickness and therefore pick someone else.

My prof that I was having that current meeting with asked me why I thought that my friend hadn’t spoken up.  I said, “I guess that she was trying to please Dr. ________.”

Which s/he responded with, “Yes —-my name—-.  Most people try to please their teachers.”  S/he said, looking pointedly at me.

Oh.  And that’s when I got it.

I was never to become a music therapist at this school, because I didn’t understand that the point of education is not to acquire learning, but rather to try and please the teachers, the oh so holy wielders of grades.  You see, when you learn, when you acquire knowledge, that pleases the teacher.  Really then, the acquisition of knowledge is just a by-product of pleasing the teacher.  Oh.

That’s when s/he suggested that I transfer schools to a new music therapy program, and “make a fresh start.”  Or I could change majors.

But in terms of my graduating from that program, I had already struck out.


~ by lastcrazyhorn on October 26, 2008.

20 Responses to “My Life Is Like One Ridiculously Complex HP Maze”

  1. Welcome to the brutal world of unspoken social niceties. I certainly recognize your current plight with mine during graduate school. Have you approached your professor with your diagnosis and to try to help them understand why you are the way you are and why they are misinterpreting your actions? Do you have an older, academic AS mentor?

  2. Each of the three profs involved with this situation have all been appraised of my situation. I talked to the prof of the grad class I got in trouble with a few weeks beforehand about the Asperger’s. He said, “oh you’re smart. You’ll be fine.”

  3. Well, there’s always engineering, a discipline in which profs like those are figures of fun and derision…

    I dunno if you’ve read the late Heinlein novel, “The Number of the Beast”, but in it is a devastating description and criticism of how schools of “Education” run. Seems like what you have there. With NT wimminz, too.
    You have my sympathies, Ma’am!

  4. Is there any kind of appeals system. Is there a student union rep?
    Best wishe

  5. you are being failed left and right. This is just ridiculous! Is there someone that can advocate for you outside of the school? Maybe some sort of social worker or someone at DVR?

  6. Do you have a campus ombudsman? These closed-door sessions without information in writing, without any kind of due process, with this collusion among professors to deprive you of placement in an intern program…this is not appropriate behavior, and you need to talk to someone who can help you about this. You have specific rights as a student and as someone who qualifies for certain supports under ADA, and they do not appear to be accommodating those in any way.

    First of all, their threats to you should be placed in writing, especially their decision not to provide you with an internship rec. This cloak-and-dagger stuff is not “the way things are done” in academe. Is there a dean? They should be judging you on your academics, not on whether or not you’re pleasing them. If they’re judging you on your attitude or how pleasing you are to them and that subjective aspect of their judgment is not in their syllabi, they are violating a contract between themselves and you, the student, and you have grounds for complaint on that basis. Really.

  7. *HUGS* You’re getting a raw deal. Please don’t give up without a fight. Try and get some people on your side. Over here in Limey-land, treating an undergraduate like this would be against the law. Please, please don’t let them get away with it! Try talking to Ari Neeman from ASAN, for advice aneeman[at] *HUGS*

  8. I filled out my side of the deal last Friday and my psychiatrist is sending in his info this Monday. After that, disability services has 10 days to get back to me. I also was told to try contacting Stephen Shore. I just need to finish my email to him.

  9. I’m not sure what University your attending, but there should be an appeals board to hear you out. Are these full professors or are they associate professors? If they have not received tenure, then I think pressure can be brought to bear. You should also consider having Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith write a letter for you to the University. Nothing like a Nobel winner writing a letter for you to get attention.

  10. OH, my heart breaks reading this. It’s so frustrating because I suspect you’d be one of the best MTs the program has ever had. I’ll be anxious to hear what happens next. I’m so sorry you are going through this right now – it’s just horrible.

  11. I agree 100% with Emily, who points out that your ADA rights have been violated. As soon as you’re properly registered with Disabilities Services, let them advise you on how to proceed. One thing to think about is that if your profs can do this sort of thing to you, they can do it to other people as well. I am absolutely sure that there is an appeals system. As I said, let the Disability people help you. That’s why they’re there!

  12. Fight ’em LCH. You’ve worked too hard to get this far, only to be sabotaged by these people. If being a music therapist is what you really want, then do whatever you need to do to get there. You’ve got a lot of people cheering you on.

  13. Disability services has another 9 days to reply to me.

  14. Snorts

  15. I’m so sorry. This truly stinks. Ditto what Emily and others said.

  16. I cannot understand an MT program that cannot accommodate disability. How do they teach students to do what they clearly cannot do? Getting an advocate is a very good step.

  17. What terri said! I hope you get some acceptable resolution. Good luck!

  18. you are learning to be a music therapist… who better to reach people through music then someone like us who think the way we do. Either fight the hell out of those profs or switch schools but stay in the program.

    Love and hugs

    Cheysis 🙂

  19. Hey Val! It’s Karen.

    I would talk to the Office of Student Rights.
    No, you’re not there to please your teachers. You’re there to learn.

    It seems like there will always be “that one teacher”…I totally understand where you’re coming from.

    And I want to commend you on your ability to internalize other people’s pains and speak up for them! You go, girlfriend!

    I voted for “other”. Don’t transfer, don’t change majors…kick those professors rears into gear. Be polite about it, but go to a higher level.

    You don’t need to put up with their bullshit. And frankly, my dear, that is exactly what it is.

    You don’t need to have validation or excuses for who you are.

  20. Well, I have news. I’ve finally gotten processed with Disability Services. They just emailed me to tell me that I needed to set up an appt. to discuss my accommodations! So let’s see what happens with that.

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