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the worst day


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Ok, I don't think this day could have been a bigger disaster than it has been without somebody's health being involved.

My last final exam was hard, and there were chunks I couldn't do. But I did my best, and I am headed back to my office thinking at least the semester is over. I get to my desk and find out that the finance professor was not happy with the performances on the exams - the e-mail was directed at all of the students in the class - and he wants us to redo the whole thing as a takehome exam and turn it in on Monday.

At which point the frustration, exhaustion, anger all come to a boiling point. I just sat at my computer and cried for 20 minutes. I then sent a long e-mail to my advisor, who can take my ventings. She was not at her office.

So I finish putting the last two or three citations into my time series paper. I take the paper to put into my professor's box. In my box is my appointment paper for the fall, so I sign it and take it over to the graduate studies office. The program manager is not there, so the student behind the desk says she will give it to her as soon as she gets in. So I dropped it on her desk. I did not throw it at her, but I did not hand it to her either. I dropped it on her desk.

So I go back to my office. I tried writing a note to my finance professor, but I was not composed enough. I thought I would go home, but I was not composed enough to trust myself to drive. So into my office comes the PhD program manager. All the PhD students share an office, and she knew the code, so she comes in without knocking. And she is holding this appointment letter that I dropped and she wants to talk about this. I told her, "Not today. This is not the day to pick on me." And she says something like, "Nobody is trying to pick on you but I want to talk about this," I said again, "Not today." She reaches out to touch me and I snapped and I yelled at her. "Not today! I cannot deal with this today!"

So she leaves and I spend another half hour crying at my computer before I can finally muster the concentration to drive home. I write the finance professor a very composed - I thought - e-mail:


I believe the request for us to redo large portions of the exam is unreasonable, at least for a classmate and myself - he has no idea I am writing this, though I am cc'ing my advisor, who is both of our advisors. (Sorry - took out the actual names, so it is choppy)

I am exhausted and spent at the end of a very difficult semester. We studied hard for this exam. I knew there was no way for me to master all of this material; however, I feel I can and did demonstrate an ability to discuss intelligently all of the papers we read this semester. I believe I demonstrated a working knowledge of the major topics of the course. I do not know the mathematical details, cannot derive CAPM without copying line by line from the notes. But I can talk about it, the efficient frontier, binomial pricing, real options. I believe I communicated that through the final. My preparation might have been entirely different if I had known the exam would be take home. I surely would not have reviewed the papers as carefully as I did if I had known I could write the essays with them in front of me.

Fundamentally, I am exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. I do not believe that I will gain anything substantive from reworking these problems because the mathematical details are beyond what I will use going forward.

Thank you for your attention. Respectfully,


So in the middle of writing this, I get an e-mail from a classmate saying basically the same things I am thinking. And I also get an e-mail from the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies:


I was sorry to hear about your recent behavior, directed toward OGS&R student workers and to Ms. Caron Kiley, our Ph.D. Program Manager. Until this incident has been appropriately reported and settled, I must ask you to refrain from entering the Office of Graduate Studies and from contacting or interacting in any way with personnel who work in the Office of Graduate Studies (other than me).

If you have business to conduct that requires contact with this office, you may contact me by email or by telephone.

I hope you will respect my wishes in this matter.


So that has been my day.


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Were your genders reversed, it would be the one who would not take your "no" for an answer who would be stinging with a reprimand. I believe you are dealing with reverse sexual discrimination. My opinion on the final email you posted.

As for the rest of it and your purges, I am so sorry it didn't happen at a more opportune time for you - for example, at home with Katie at Gramma's and no one to see you cry, let alone try to interact with you! I hate it when emotions sneak up and ambush me like that, and I REALLY hate to cry - ANYWHERE.

I'm sorry you had such a bad day - you're a day early, Friday the 13th is tomorrow.

Be kind to yourself, deal with this when you have some time to get things back under some sort of control. Set the book aside for a bit and give your heart a break. You can get back to it when life settles a bit for you and you can breathe again.

Take care,


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Sending more cyber hugs. I am so proud that you communicated your day with us here. I would have eaten chocolate in the car. :wink:

I just was talking to a collegue today who lost her 26 year old son very suddenly at Thanksgiving, her mother in law at New years's, her father at Easter, and her nephew was seriosly injured several weeks ago in a consturction accident. At the time of the accident he was given a 5 % chance of surviving.

Barbara mentioned today she was feeling overwhelmed, unable to catch up with the work she had to do at school. I told her that my therapist and I have been discussing that for 4 years now. I'm not feeling overwhelmed as much now, but definitely life has changed. Does this make any sense?

Also reminded me of my student teaching. Back before the age of computers, I had to hand write the 10 new lesson plans a day, and write a written evaluation for the ones already taught. During that last week I pulled an all nighter and went to teach the next day. A kid gave me some grief and I started crying right there in the classroom. I spent the next hour in the kindergarten closet, crashing and burning.

Anyway, silly story from the east coast

Hope your day picked up

hug that precious little one


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I am glad you shared with us your awful day. :shock: Sometimes writing it down and sending it off will make you feel better.

I hope you are in a better mood now. I really don't know how to comment on your day just that my heart goes out to you. It has been such an exhausting semester and it was finally over. So you thought, :cry:

What a bummer.... I really hope you are feeling better. Iam sure you will get his mess straightened out.

Hang in there, things will change, they always do!!


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Grief comes in waves. A wave hit you and knocked you over. It's ok. It's allowed. Sit and be calm knowing that you do the best you can. You deserve the best for all you do. Things will improve. Your daughter needs you. You need her. Becky expects the best, and I know you'll rise to the task. Peace to you. ((()))


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The behavior of the "administration" does not surprise me. It is amazing how quick they are to react to situations like you described but when it comes to important issues like investigating sexual harassment of students from faculty members and other such important things "administration" sits on it for what seems like an eternity. The program manager should of had the common sense to back off.

I totally feel your frustration and anguish on these matters. Graduate school is like having chronic stress (without even taking into consideration taking care of a family etc)and then there are periods of such extreme stress it is like having some sort of temporary psychosis. I have been working on this totally obnoxious take home stats final that has taken me over a week to finish. I'm so stressed out that I have broken out in a rash. I am turning it in tomorrow on my way to Lake Tahoe and when I get there my girfriends and I are going to party till the sun comes up.

So hang in there Curtis....tomorrow is another day.


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Sorry to hear about this mess. Graduate school is so stressful even for students who have no other responsibilities/stresses such as you have, especially at the end of the semester, and you have so much going on in your life. I'm sure the isssue with the Ph.D. program manager will be resolved, you can meet with the assistant dean when you are calm, there are also some student groups that you can talk to who basically are there to protect the rights of the students (omsbusman (sp??), something like that..).

As for the take home exam, maybe if several students sent e-mails, the professor will cancel it; otherwise: relax today, forget about it for a day and plan to spend the weekend working on it. After the weekend the semester will be over and you can celebrate.

I graduated 10 years ago (Ph.D. in stats, your favorite subject) and I remember so clearly the stress, and the power the professors had over the students..

I wish you the best of luck.


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I agree with Becky. No means no and not today is an okay response. I am sorry this happened. Do your best to resolve this quickly because you do not need any additional stress. I am sorry this happened to you , but it will be yesterdays news very quickly.

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from an old fogey, some days are like

that, you do right, you are wrong,

and you do wrong and it is the same.

very frustrating, hoping the day finish

better for you.

Now to try to make you smile;

I was told (about 20 years ago) to wear

white gloves when delegating work,

so went to the vet and bought

a pair of surgical white gloves, those

that went to the shoulders (for farm animals)

and used them.........till I was

told it was wrong, and I pointed out that

I was doing exactly what they had told me

to do.

Better days ahead for you.


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  • 1 month later...
Guest I love my Daddy


I am sorry to hear about your bad day. I am sure that I will be having planty of thoes days. I really know I will be if I can't even manage to get any sleep.


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