chem in general

first of all….let me disclaim that I did not write this, but merely changed a few parts to make it fit UVM better. Also, this should not be looked at as directed towards any particular professor at UVM … 😉 Good morning, class, and welcome to Chem 31: Useless Required Course That Will Ruin Your Life. This is your standard introductory lecture with a weekly section/lab. Today I will spend some time telling you about the course and what you can expect throughout the semester. First of all, my name is Professor Blowhard. I arrived at UVM more than forty years ago and I have taught this course ever since. Little has changed in the course except for the faces I see before me. If I look bored and even a little disoriented, it’s because I am. Now that I am a distinguished professor at the University, I spend almost no time on campus. My office hours are the only chance you will have to see me — they are from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Monday. I do not like to be disturbed at home, and I have never actually seen the Internet, so this is the only time you may talk to me. Now let me introduce you to the team of Teaching Assistants that have signed on this semester. All of them have thick, garbled accents and an appreciable lack of social skills. Due to the advanced nature of their current study, it is unlikely that they have seen this course’s material since they were exposed to it as undergraduates — so don’t be surprised if they are working towards a Nobel Prize but cannot explain basic fundamentals in logical and straightforward terms. They will probably confuse you further rather than clarify much for you, but what can you expect when you require every grad to teach a course? The good news is that your entire grade is in their hands. All of your questions or concerns about the material should be addressed to your Teaching Assistants during section/lab. We have made sure to schedule sections for as early as possible in the morning because we know how alert and ready to learn you are at that time. There will be a quick quiz at the beginning of each section on the previous week’s material. The individual quizzes will count for very little, and in my experience students tend to forget about them almost every week. But once you have failed enough of them, they will be combined to count for the equivalent of an exam.Though your T.A. will do the grading, I will make up the quizzes, prelims and exams. Your T.A.s and I do not communicate regularly, so unfortunately they will have to use their psychic powers in section/lab to guess what I might ask. The fact is I don’t believe in teaching you something and then testing you on your ability to apply it in various contexts. That would mean that if you went to class, did the work and understood all of it, you would do well in the course. That may work at some other “Universities” out there, but here at UVM, we take your education a little more seriously.Therefore, I make sure my exams test you only on the most difficult material, and in ways you’ve never seen it before. I think it’s a valuable lesson for students to barely complete half of the test in the allotted time. Otherwise, we are not tapping into your full potential. You will leave the test stimulated and challenged knowing that even if you studied the material from lectures and the book for the rest of your life, you still will not have been able to answer most of the questions. I don’t like to brag, but I’ll have you know that many of my own colleagues can’t even finish my exams.To even things out a bit, the exams will be heavily, heavily curved. At UVM, like so often in life, it’s not how much you know, but whether you know more of it than your neighbor. Start getting used to the world of cutthroat competition, folks, because you’re going to encounter nothing but that once you leave here. It’s in your best interests to acclimate yourselves to it as soon as possible and you’ve chosen the right place to do just that.Oh, and one more thing. The textbook for this class has already sold out — as usual the bookstore only ordered half of what we need — so the rest of you that haven’t yet bought it will have to find one yourself or share with a friend. It should cost around five hundred dollars and it will have absolutely no resale value after the class finishes. Remember, all of you are here because you need to fulfill one requirement or another. That makes my job easier knowing I have a steady audience that cannot leave no matter how long or incoherently I drone on. (A little humor to keep you on your toes, folks.) I do not permit questions during lecture, and I am not very keen on class participation in any context. Please sit still for an hour, write down everything I say, and remember it verbatim for the exams. I look forward to weeding most of you out of here as soon as possible. See you next class