The worst thing anyone can imagine is a deeply personal letter that was never intended to be sent falling into the hands of the wrong people, but that nightmare scenario is exactly what happened to senior Alix Canter this week. With two big midterm papers due (for reasons beyond anybody’s comprehension) in the two weeks after break, alongside the looming monster of graduation almost 50 nights away, Canter mistakenly handed in the page of notes she’d secretly written about the attractiveness of her philosophy professor, Avery Jones, rather than her treatise on whatever philosophy majors write about. Memes, maybe? Or amazing humor articles in the Misc? Who knows.
Canter shared her embarrassment, crying, “I’ve never felt worse than when I arrived at the library after class to do homework, and my philosophy essay was still in my bag. My heart raced, trying to figure out what I had turned in
instead—and then it hit me. I’d grabbed the sonnets I’d written about Professor Jones, which I wrote on loose-leaf because I still need to buy a new journal. I almost had a heart attack.”
In a panic, Canter ran back to Jones’ office hours to try and correct her mistake, only to find her pages already graded and placed in the box outside Jones’ office.
“I did write a whole poem about how she promptly returns papers and her organizational skills, but I’ve never resented anyone’s acumen more than in that moment. How had she even graded it that fast?”
Fortunately for Canter, Jones’s comments did not indicate she understood who the poems were addressed to. What Jones’ comments made amply clear was her distaste for Canter’s verse.
“Obviously I didn’t intend for her— or anyone else—to read these. But she didn’t have to be so mean about my writing. I bared my soul in those pages, and they weren’t supposed to be written or critiqued. I told her that I love her. I mean, it’s just an intellectual crush, like of course I’m not actually going to pursue my professor, that’s a creepy power dynamic. I really just admire her work on Nietzsche as applied to the marketing and advertising of modern candy bean companies. But wow she was harsh,” Canter shared.
Jones’ notes include descriptors such as “trite” and “hackneyed,” and other notes such as “thesis?!?!?” “transition sentences?!?!” and “Why does this matter? Elaborate.” The visiting professor also wrote (after a certain line rhyming “Socrates” with “Our Destinies”), “Much less elegant than the work I usually expect from you. At least try to avoid these tacky cliches—also try to relate back to thesis.”
Canter read aloud Jones’ conclusion about her work. “Alix, I fail to see the relationship between what you’ve turned in and our recent discussion on the work of Merleau-Ponty, which is an integral part of the prompt. I admire the risk you took in your formatting, yet the poems you turned in are nonsensical and present no original argument. In the future, please adhere more closely to the prompt, or come talk to me to guide your thinking and formatting in a way that is comprehensible, even a little.”
“I mean, could she have been more rude?” Canter asked, almost in disbelief. “It’s extremely upsetting that she was so harsh. They aren’t that bad.
In the past week, Canter filed with the Dean of Studies Office for a late drop of Professor Jones’ class. She was last seen creating a collage of President Bradley’s tweets.