A Guilty Conscience

I am someone who is a contradiction in many ways. There are some things that do not bother me at all, they don’t even elicit a twitch. And then there are the others. They are the things that sometimes still make me feel badly. One of the worst feelings in the world is the one you get when you feel like you have let yourself down.

Some of these stories have been shared with you and some have not. Within this blog I am so very honest with myself. That is not to suggest that I am dishonest or less than truthful, but there is a stark reality to seeing the thoughts and feelings in print.

This morning I remembered the final exam of one of my political science classes. We were required to write four essays. There were five different topics to choose from. I don’t remember specific details anymore, other than I had three exceptional essays. I knew my stuff and I did a fabulous job of presenting it.

It was the fourth essay that was the problem. I just couldn’t effectively answer the final two questions. I tried. I really tried to come up with something but nothing came out of me, the bluebook was empty.

And then I had a brainstorm. I remembered the professor talking about someone who had been giving an assignment and was unable to speak about the assignment and deftly turned things by providing an outstanding presentation on a different topic.

So I said what the hell and I began to write about another topic that we had covered in depth, but was not part of the final exam. In my opinion it was the best essay out of the four. I got an ‘A’ on the exam and an ‘A’ in the course.

The next semester I signed up for another course with the same professor. On the first day of class he took me aside and used these words with me, “I don’t want you in here if you are going to try that bullshit with me again.”

It caught me offguard. I was unprepared and I kind of nodded my head and babbled at him. I felt exceptionally guilty because I realized that I had let myself down. I’d like to say that I learned my lesson and that I have never done anything to make myself feel badly, but that would be a lie.

As I have grown older there have been a few events here and there, but within my time as a college student I don’t think that I ever felt worse than I did standing in front of him that day.

(Visited 109 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Stacey July 13, 2005 at 3:38 am

    I am w/Q on this one. You got an “A” on both the exam and the class, so the teacher must have found your work outstanding. No one made him give you those marks.

    And it isn’t possible to remember every single thing learned in class. So big deal that you couldn’t remember 2 of the essay questions. The important thing is that you did learn in his class. And your essays — all 4 of them — obviously demonstrated that for you to receive the A.

    I wouldn’t feel badly at all for what you did. On the contrary, you implemented a creative, yet knowledgable solution.

  2. Jack's Shack July 12, 2005 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Q,

    Good questions and no answers. It is always easy to look backwards and think about how to do things over.

    Hi Randi,

    I am not the writer that Robert is, but I try. Thanks for coming by. I hope that I’ll see you again.


  3. cruisin-mom July 12, 2005 at 9:25 pm

    Jack, I’m guessing that if this scenario happened today, you would not have felt the same way…today you would have had the confidence to confront his comment to you and question his attack. That is the difference between being 20 and being in your 30’s (and it gets even better when you’re close to 50!)But that’s just my guess.
    I have noticed your comments on Seraphic Secret, so I found my way to your blog. I really like what you have to say, and although I haven’t had a chance to read it in it’s entirety, I like your story.

  4. Stephen (aka Q) July 12, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    His behaviour is hard to explain. If your approach offended him so badly, why did he give you an “A” on the final exam? On the other hand, if he wasn’t badly offended, why did he light into you for bullshitting him?

    No wonder you felt terrible. When you entered the class, you had every reason to believe that the professor thought highly of you. Then he blindsided you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like