I seriously considered cutting this chapter from the site. I mean, really, what do academics have to do with college?
Well, when I started UD in Fall of '91, the big controversy was the introduction of the Plus / Minus grading system. The debate over which had been raging for years before I got there. One of the opposition’s main arguments was the old, “There’s no A+ grade to balance the A-.” Which was true, but whatever.
Plus / Minus obviously pushed through, and I only seem to remember not having it my first semester at UD; it went into effect in early '92. No, I didn’t check that against my transcript. And no, I never retroactively looked at my grades, to see if Plus / Minus helped me or hurt me!
Rumor: Delaware is going Ivy League.
Dude, this is: Ridiculous. This rumor circulated when I attended Delaware, and many kids have told me they’ve heard it in the years since. UD has indeed become increasingly more selective, but it’s not like a school can elevate to such a level, where you can then go before an Ivy League committee, and they decree, “Okay, you’re in.” There are eight schools in the Ivy League, which formed in 1954. No school has been added since.
Now, it’s absolutely true that Delaware is well respected as a Public Ivy, as included in the 2001 edition of Greene’s Guides’ The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities. A Public Ivy is generally defined as, “Providing an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price.” Delaware is a very, very good school. But just having the word “Ivy” in there as part of the “Public Ivy” classification, I’m sure will perpetuate the Ivy League rumor for years to come…not to mention UD’s President Harker being the former Dean of Penn’s Wharton School of Business!
Now that we’ve established that you can be proud of your Delaware education, let’s talk about skipping classes and cheating on exams. Hey, I’m sorry! While I totally respect working your ass off and sporting the grades to prove it, it doesn’t really make for entertaining stories, does it?
There’s an absolute correlation between attending class and how well you do. I’ll agree that going to class is the most fundamentally important thing you can do to succeed in college.
I'd also estimate there are probably only ten school days a year when the weather is acceptable going-to-class conditions. When it's nice out: don't go. When it's shitty out: don't go. In-between: okay, maybe go.
Now personally, the class I remember skipping the most was my Human Heredity class, that I had at 8:00 AM Tuesdays and Thursdays, first semester, freshman year. Was in that big Purnell lecture hall, even though it was a non-Business class.
I found ANY of those Tuesday / Thursday, one-hour-and-fifteen minute classes to be torture, no matter what it was, but coupled with 8:00 AM...I couldn't hit that snooze alarm fast enough. I wanted to rig my snooze alarm, so when I hit it, it'd dump right into my teacher's voicemail and say, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Problem is, that skipping the 8:00 AM turned into skipping my 9:30 right after it, and then maybe the 11:00 after that. Not particularly proud looking back on it now, and to this day, I occasionally have what I understand to be a common nightmare: skipping a class all semester, and then running around campus, not even knowing where to go to take the final!
My Art History class in Spring '93 was also way difficult to attend. It was an afternoon class in one of the huge Smith Hall classroom, lots of cuties in there (thanks again, UD!) -- but it was a particularly nice spring; tough to resist just hanging outside, playing ball and all of that. When you have a campus THAT nice, well, you know. As Rodney Dangerfield said in Back to School, “These classes can be a real inconvenience.”
I can’t condone academic dishonesty, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Personally, I never devised or resorted to an elaborate cheating scheme, but I do often find them hilarious. Hey, creativity like that is often rewarded in the real world.
As for the simple “friendly help from your neighbor,” the aforementioned Smith lecture halls are my picks for easiest UD classrooms to cheat in. Those seats were SO close together, and the rows were tiered at such an angle, your eyes could easily wander left, right, forward and down.
I had one idiot teacher who handed out SIX versions of an exam (A through F) in a Smith room -- his attempt to curb the cheating -- however, he didn't randomize the exams enough, and handed out the SAME versions down each row. So, you couldn't look forward and down -- that would've been a different version than yours -- but left and right you were good in the ‘hood, as they were the same. Now, if only my friends to the left and right of me actually had studied. I mean, someone needs to know the right answers!
“M114. Remedial counting for non-Math / Science / Business / Education / etc. majors. For the first couple of weeks I went and watched the prof, though I couldn't understand a word he said. There was this guy who would come in late, with a skateboard, sit next to me in the back row, put his head down, sleep through the whole class, wake up at the end, and asked me what he missed. He actually turned out to be one of my best friends at college. We rarely went back to the class, only on exam days. So, I maybe attended six or so classes all semester. Kind of ironic now that I'm a professor myself.”
- Anonymous, UD '95
“I just loved the professors that had us go and buy the blue books from the bookstore for essay questions...and then didn’t collect and redistribute them before the exam! I remember one history class where a friend who shall remain nameless wrote outlines for all of the essay topics on the last page of the book, and then the kicker: as she was leaving after her test, she ripped out the page with the outlines on it, and actually slipped it to another one of our friends! Ahhh, the good old days...and I believe that was a Kirkbride classroom!”
- Andrea, UD '02
“First semester of freshman year, I was a mess.
One of my classes that semester was a Calculus course. On the first day, the instructor said that the course would have four exams (including the final), but that he would drop your lowest exam score when calculating your final course grade. Fast forward to the middle of the semester. I woke up on the morning of the third exam, and decided that I was satisfied with my scores on the first two exams.
So I just decided to skip the third exam, and went back to sleep. Later that afternoon, I checked the syllabus and noticed the following in big bold letters: ‘The instructor reserves the right NOT to drop your lowest exam score if you do not take all of the exams.’ Words cannot describe the ‘Oh fuck!’ feeling I had at that moment. I did end up passing the class, so I guess the instructor dropped my third exam grade anyway.
Another class I took that semester was Intro to MICROeconomics. Apparently I bought the textbook for MACROeconomics, but I didn't realize it until the week of Thanksgiving! So I had the wrong textbook for 80% of the semester. But, the worst part is that my roommate was taking the same class with a different professor. He had the correct textbook, went to class more than I did, and studied more than I did, but he ended up with a lower grade. He was pretty annoyed about that.
And lastly, I also took Intro to Computer Engineering that semester, which was a 3:30 PM class in a fairly large lecture hall. Due to my sleep schedule (or lack thereof), it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to stay awake in class at that time of day. I think I slept through EVERY class between the start of the semester and the midterm. So after the midterm, I just stopped going to class. I absolutely should have failed this course. I ended up passing thanks to a very generous curve.
By the spring semester of my senior year, I had things pretty well figured out. I had all my classes scheduled for Tuesday / Thursday, starting at around 11:00 AM and finishing by around 3:00 PM. Four-day weekends every week. It was AWESOME! Can I go back to living that life?”
- Brian J, UD '06
“My first day of classes, it POURED from 7 AM-ish until 8 AM-ish, but by the time 9 AM classes started the clouds had cleared, the birds were singing, etc. Of course all the new freshmen thought this was nuts, and our professor was the first to deliver the line, 'If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes.'”
- Veronica, UD '08
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