On a slightly heavier note I had one student ask me with the most desperate demeanor, “Does chemistry come easy for you?” They had just bombed their first chemistry exam and didn’t know what to do. Now my motto as many of you know is: “Weed ’em out.” But the first two weeks is a tad early. They should really get a chance to wallow in the soul crushing machinery that is chemistry. I knew if I said the wrong thing they’d be weeded out a bit too early. So I did the humane thing, gave them validation for their failure, and lied. I said, “no, it doesn’t. I don’t think it comes easy to anyone.” While thinking, “are you kidding? How can you not understand this stuff.” I thought about checking for a pulse, but then they blinked so I knew they were conscious. “I had to work very hard and study a lot to get good at it.” Anyone who’s ever taken a general chemistry class knows that 1) this is not chemistry, and 2) this is not hard. If you’ve ever changed the oil in a car, you’ve already done ten times the amount of intellectual excersize it takes to do a general chemistry lab.
But I thought I’d be nice. And they seemed to be encouraged by my false struggles. And I left content, knowing I had just bought them an extra week in the grinder.