The Lecture From Hell

I apologize in advance for this extremely detailed, lengthy rant. I didn’t realize how much it pissed me off…

The physiology textbook module was incredibly useful for explaining concepts related to plant physiology.

The physiology lecture was incredibly useless for explaining concepts related to plant physiology.


My horticulture program is structured to have a guest speaker every week; this individual more or less spends 6½ hours reiterating the material found in our textbook. I understand that every guest speaker has his or her own method of explaining the current topic to the class – this is completely fine. I don’t expect every presentation to reflect the topic verbatim. What I do expect is the lecture to at least be on the same tangent as the textbook.

This lecture was not on the same tangent. It wasn’t on any logical tangent. Hell, it may as well have been off the bloody graph.

You know it’s bad when 5+ classmates leave the class a couple of hours in. I myself was tempted to leave; I regret not doing so. It reminded of – and I’m not kidding when I say this – a university level biochemistry class mixed with physics and ecology. The entire class was spent enduring the torturous pain of learning concepts we didn’t need to learn:

:black_small_square: The properties of water;
:black_small_square: Organic chemical reactions on a molecular level (e.g. anaerobic (glycolysis) and aerobic processes) – and of course, all the accompanying chemical equations and structure diagrams; and
:black_small_square: Wavelength absorption spectrum for chlorophyll production (sure, why the fuck not?)

For the purposes of this program, this was a waste of time. Why? It’s similar to teaching advanced calculus to grade seven math students learning elementary algebra – they don’t require the knowledge at this level in their education; it just complicates it for them. Don’t get me wrong: I essentially understood the chemistry (even the physics) components of the lecture (I did take chemistry after all) but even then, it’s useless to include that magnitude of information when it won’t be on any assignment or exam – it confuses individuals who have never studied chemistry/physics or makes it extremely boring for those who did.

Why the fuck would a lecture have material not explained (or required) in the textbook module? I am very frustrated. It happens often in this program, yet today was particularly torturous. One guy decided to return to lectures once they “began to make sense”. I think only one person actually enjoyed the class and felt it was relevant to our studies. Opinions are subjective, but this lecture was definitely something quite a few people struggled with. Did I mention it went past 3:30PM, the end of our class? I left immediately at 3:30PM, though – even though I was stupid enough to subject myself to this torture during class, I wasn’t stupid enough to prolong it off the clock.

I dislike the lectures thus far; we’ve only had four, but that’s enough. I enjoy the assignments, because it helps clarify and extend your knowledge beyond simple memorization. However, I am disgruntled by the marking system. I am finding a lot of criteria on the return scoring sheet not explicitly stated in the original assignment criteria AND criteria written as ‘other information to include/consider’ suddenly classified as a requirement. If you don’t state what you’re looking for in a submission, how do you expect us to know how to do so? I can’t complain: I’ve received 19/20 on both my assignments thus far (I hope my third is similar if not better). It’s just irritating to deal with. Although, all the assignments together only count for 25% of your total mark anyway, unlike the exams which are worth 60% (collectively).

My future career better be worth this agonizing torture.


That sounds awful UU, I can relate to you sort of. I’m in a bachelors of science program so naturally I had to take a lot of general courses 1st year. General Chemistry I is notorious for being a clusterfuck of all things chem, but my prof took it to the next level. In 1st semester of 1st year he literally taught us 4 years of chem! I am now in third year taking Organic Chemistry III and we’re still learning things that prof taught us 1st year, only now we’re actually supposed to be learning that stuff… The class average of about 350-400 students was a mere 35% on most of his exams. Naturally he had to bell curve; the bell curve saved me, barely.

I hope your situation improves! I’m sure it will all be worth it in the long-run. That’s what I keep thinking :blush:

@cbd1235 – Thanks, Jason :heart:

Your story = SO MANY FEELS. I offer my empathy – all of it :sob:

I remember having a similar experience in grade 10. I accidentally enrolled in Science 10 IB – Advanced Science. It was like going from grade 9 science straight to ‘holyshitwhendidIgettograde11?!’. It felt like essentially skipping a grade. I barely passed in the 60s.

I suppose this lecture did teach me a few things:

  1. I will never be a botanist. This lecture (like my previous job) has helped me realize what I don’t like. My career choices have been narrowed yet again.
  2. Lectures are extra – if it gets that bad again, RUN. RUN AWAY.

Oh man, that reminds me of our Secure Web Systems lectures at university.

Basically we had a lecturer who would much rather talk about his kids, Malaysian wife or just about anything other than the stuff we were meant to be learning. To top it all off, he would then give us a list and tell us to go off and look for the information ourselves, despite the fact that he was meant to be the one teaching us, not Wikipedia.

He also fell asleep in one of our lab sessions too.

@roguezephyr(Laughs) You know it’s bad when the instructor falls asleep in his own class, let alone the students xD

@frostyfluxy(Chuckles) I wish. My laptop malfunctioned a couple of years ago. If it was functional, I would definitely be playing video games for 6½ hours!

Time to whip out the ol’ Gameboy :wink:

Seriously, I need to find other things to do whilst killing time in lectures. Any suggestions?

Things I have done:

  1. Actually played Pokemon on N DS with a few other classmates in a brutal physics course a couple years back. We never even got called out for it.
  2. Beat angry birds on my phone and laptop
  3. Mastered minesweeper and solitaire on my laptop
  4. Tetris battle on FB ahahh
  5. Played who’s that Pokemon with classmates; we would all draw a page of awfully drawn pokemon then have others guess who we were going for. Lol
  6. Draw caricatures of the professor and/or other students
  7. Nicknamed various strange students in our lectures. My favourite was “caveman chick”, her caricature was also hilarious
  8. Bet on how many times my plant biology prof would say “follow my point” in the lecture. It was always above 25 per lecture ahah.
  9. Study for other classes aha
  10. Can’t forget Plants vs. Zombies of course

Some of these may help :blush:

Haha chemistry classes…I used to take those (too many of them)!!!
Play words/scramble with friends (i do that at work now)
Make your lectures a drinking game (ie every time a chemical formula or math equation shows up drink). I can help u come up with more rules if needed
Where a hooded sweatshirt and listen to headphones if you get bored
If your allowed to use calculators on your exam, program them with hard to memorize info
Get high before class
Don’t go to class

My biology professor in 11th grade used to give horrendously boring lectures with information that flew over the heads of the majority of the pupils. She touted her position as an AP teacher and the fact that she was providing us with “the potential for college credit” to justify absurdly advanced topic detail from her own personal wealth of knowledge. Her degree was in biochemical engineering, and she brought it up at least once per lecture as if explaining that she was the absolute authority on all things living, chemical, engineered and studied.

In fact, upon testing for the college credits, roughly 90% of the students having taken the class found that they were utterly unprepared for the simplicity of many of the topics the test covered as they had been so overwhelmed by the depth of her lectures that the simply tuned her out instead of absorbing the lower-difficulty information.

What a headache. It was probably an influence on my decision to avoid biology, chemistry and engineering as majors.

@cbd1235(Laughs) Your suggestions sound like fun! It’s a shame I don’t have a laptop…or a fancy cellphone (I have a ghetto one just for texting and calling). I’ll definitely bring my Gameboy et al. I’ll probably draw, too. I’ve done #7 already; one lady is known as ‘clinical depression’ because she’s just so…depressing. The way she speaks is irritating as hell; I just avoid her as much as possible.

#9 gave me an idea! I don’t need to study for my other class, but I can take notes for the next unit to get ahead! I can also work on future assignments during the lecture :blush:

@shpunto9 – I appreciate your feedback! It isn’t a chemistry class, though (the lecture just seemed like it, haha)! I’m currently in horticulture (the study and science of growing plants) – it doesn’t use chemical equations or calculators.

I love your headphone idea :heart::heart: I am definitely going to use it, thanks!

@funmonkey54 – That sounds like a nightmare :slightly_frowning_face:

(Laughs) It seems like your lectures had an identical effect on choosing your majors and careers, too! I guess boring lectures are beneficial for that purpose :wink:

This is CRAZY. These experiences are dauntingly familiar. I went to UCLA and majored in Bio-Chem with a minor in journalism. THAT WAS ABOUT 40 YEARS AGO. Can it really be true that nothing has changed in all this time??? Well I guess two things have,there were no computers or Pokemon;)

@garyis2000(Laughs) It is true; nothing has changed in four decades ;D

@reina Sierpe – Yes, I agree about the conditioning. I believe many students (including myself) forget we have a right to express our concerns regarding our education and not feel ashamed of doing so.

Alas. Despite my vehemency, I was too cowardly to vocalize my concerns directly to the lead instructor of the program or the guest speaker about how the lecture made me feel – primarily in fear of being reprimanded or flagrantly dismissed (which has happened already…) :zipper_mouth_face:

Luckily, I have an opportunity to contribute my feedback on the quality of the lecture in the near future. Our class has a feedback survey system that allows students to anonymously submit commentaries on particular lectures. I will be definitely be annotating a few things mentioned in my first post (sans profanity, haha). I hope reading the remarks will help the instructors realize what is happening in the classroom.

What was more amazing was that, when we complained about it to university, they did nothing about it.

As for killing time during lectures, heres a list of stuff we used to get through boring ass lectures:

  • Really hot hot sauce
  • Masks of our Systems programming lecture
  • Lettuce leaves stuck to our laptops
  • Beer (not sure if you’re a drinker)

I also used to bring magazines, newspapers, crosswords, sudokus to lecture classes