Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

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Mighty Jalapeno
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Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:48 pm UTC

TFA: http://news.slashdot.org/news/08/03/24/162256.shtml

TOFA: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008 ... ons-i.html

TPB:

"Aaron Rower has an interesting post on Wired with the "Top 5 Reasons it Sucks to be an Engineering Student" that includes awful textbooks, professors who are rarely encouraging, the dearth of quality counseling, and every assignment feels the same. Our favorite is that other disciplines have inflated grades. "Brilliant engineering students may earn surprisingly low grades while slackers in other departments score straight As for writing book reports and throwing together papers about their favorite zombie films," writes Rower. "Many of the brightest students may struggle while mediocre scholars can earn top scores."


Basically... "Engineering is hard because it's not easy or fun."

I can't tell if I agree with this (my engineering course was alternately excitingly intellectual and soul-crushingly pointless), but the bent of the article seems to be that something isn't worth doing if it isn't fun.

Engineers... GO!

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Aluminus » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:05 pm UTC

Computer Engineering student here. Yes, it sucks. Professors, books, courses, student politics, everything. Only 10% of what we learn in class will be used on-the-job. the rest is a free-for-all. Employers don't care about grades because they are a bad way of measuring success. Grades are curved every which way, not to mention cheating on a nearly universal scale. It's four years of wanting to get out, but not being able to, because you can't do anything without that shiny B.Eng.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby kerohazel » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:19 pm UTC

I dunno, I kinda liked knowing that my bachelor's degree (Comp Sci) would be enough for me to go out and get a job after college. Some of my classes were pretty fun, like AI and Operating Systems. One or two of the profs I had were also very good. I think it's a mixed bag, and probably depends a lot on the school you went to.

I will say this, though: do not make engineering your entire college life. Take as many other courses as they will allow, which really helps to cut down on the engineering tedium. If you're a guy, taking classes that have a lower M/F ratio than 10:1 is obviously beneficial. Don't forget about the all-important social aspects of college, as well. Just don't let engineering consume all your time, and you'll be fine. The classes really aren't that terrible - other majors have similar problems, some of them just as bad - but if you're eating, sleeping, and breathing engineering classes, then you'll find life can be hell.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Aluminus » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:25 pm UTC

We have no choice. I'm in co-op which means every third semester is spent in a work-term. The other semesters are crammed with courses to get the whole thing to fit into four years. Here's a sample of my courseload:

Semester 1:
Differential Equations
Programming I (C++)
Professional Practice and Responsibility
Discrete Math
Circuit Analysis

Semester 2:
Applied Advanced Calculus
Programming II (C++ cont'd)
Complex Variables
Digital Design (gate level)
Computer Organization and Software (assembly programming)

Not fun. It drains you. However, beer is $1 on Thursdays.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby rrwoods » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:29 pm UTC

:?:

I was wishing I could have taken more computer science courses. Just for an example, I loathed Psychology, but it was the "least bad" of the social sciences (for me). There was a bunch of stuff (I can't remember now) that I took that I really didn't want to. I did enjoy Philosophy, but I probably would have taken that anyway. But other than that I wanted more math and sciency stuff. *shrug*
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby scowdich » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

Electrical engineering student here, and yes, it does suck and is hard. I even hate the CS students for how easy they've got it, and I'm constantly irked by the English-major RA in my building who regularly writes his term papers on Marvel characters.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Aluminus » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

There are five times more electrical engineers than there are computer engineers. There are about 30 guys in my program this year.
fyrenwater wrote:Oh dear God, I just imagined this horrible scenario of a psychotic non-people-person running around, trying to steal the people-person section of people-peoples' brains to implant into their own brain.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:38 pm UTC

Are there any physical engineering students here at all?

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby scowdich » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

Oh, hey, know why else engineering sucks? Have some statistics:
-In the electrical and computer engineering undergrad curriculum, there are currently approximately 10 female students.
-Of those, perhaps 3 are really cute.
-Of those, I only really know 1 well (she's my lab partner this semester).
-And she's in a relationship. Goddammit.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby kerohazel » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:43 pm UTC

scowdich wrote:Oh, hey, know why else engineering sucks? Have some statistics:
-In the electrical and computer engineering undergrad curriculum, there are currently approximately 10 female students.
-Of those, perhaps 3 are really cute.
-Of those, I only really know 1 well (she's my lab partner this semester).
-And she's in a relationship. Goddammit.


So take classes in other fields. Might I recommend linguistics? In the classes I took, it was usually 2-3 girls per guy. And the girls tend to be pretty smart too, since linguistics actually takes some thinking and good old scientific processes.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Aluminus » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

We're allowed to take three "technical electives" (AI and other advanced stuff) and only one gen ed course.
fyrenwater wrote:Oh dear God, I just imagined this horrible scenario of a psychotic non-people-person running around, trying to steal the people-person section of people-peoples' brains to implant into their own brain.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Flying Betty » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:33 am UTC

I would say that the real question would be if engineering jobs are interesting enough and well paid enough compared to a generic liberal arts job to be worth the extra coursework and harder classes/worse grades. If yes, then it doesn't suck. If no, then it probably does. Business degrees in my opinion win for ease of courses and making lots of money, but lose in the anything I'd ever want to do with my life department. Liberal arts degrees lose in the making money and the ability to find a relevant job.

Yeah, I took more courses and worked harder than non-engineers (I also liked the stuff I took and voluntarily overloaded myself so I could take interesting non-engineering classes too), but I found an interesting, relevant, well paid job 3 months after I graduated. I don't know any engineering majors who couldn't ultimately find a job in their major if they wanted one, and several liberal arts majors who had to reevaluate their life to do something that would actually employ them.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Angstrom » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:54 am UTC

Hmph, I just switched from physics to electrical engineering. However, i'm still working in the physics department doing applied physics/computer work and don't plan to go anywhere because it's awesome.

Every college program "sucks", you just have to find what you enjoy and stick with it. And take some weird-ass courses. This semester i'm taking Parallel Processing (MPI course), and next semester i'm doing American Criminal Justice, chances are some completely far-out experience in college is going to get you a job and make you a very interesting person.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby TemperedMartensite » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:17 am UTC

I feel bad for the author of that article. I mean he must have gone to one terrible engineering school. An engineering education does not have to be like that - I know my isn't ;)

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby cypherspace » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:39 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Are there any physical engineering students here at all?

How do you mean, civil or mechanical I guess? I did a physics degree and I'm doing electrical engineering now, which is sort of physical engineering...

Angstrom wrote:Every college program "sucks", you just have to find what you enjoy and stick with it. And take some weird ass-courses.

Fix'd.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Angstrom » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:44 am UTC

cypherspace wrote:
Angstrom wrote:Every college program "sucks", you just have to find what you enjoy and stick with it. And take some weird ass-courses.

Fix'd.


Hey that sounds even more fun!

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:03 am UTC

cypherspace wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Are there any physical engineering students here at all?

How do you mean, civil or mechanical I guess? I did a physics degree and I'm doing electrical engineering now, which is sort of physical engineering...

Civil, mechanical, structural... real engineering. :)

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby TemperedMartensite » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:34 pm UTC

For a moment there I thought you were talking about engineering physics!

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby cypherspace » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:48 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
cypherspace wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Are there any physical engineering students here at all?

How do you mean, civil or mechanical I guess? I did a physics degree and I'm doing electrical engineering now, which is sort of physical engineering...

Civil, mechanical, structural... real engineering. :)

I have to say that's the type I always thought engineers really were when I was a kid... people building big stuff. I'd much rather be a mechanical engineer than an electrical one really.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby micadjems » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:06 pm UTC

"Real"?! Oh come on! I'm a materials engineering student, and I cant think of anything more real :P Ok maybe, but still.

Anywhoo, engineering does suck, but my school, McMaster, offers an Engineering AND Society program, which bumps it up to 5 years, you take sustainability and technology courses and learn lots of writing and soft skills. You also get to take focus electives, possibly leading up to a minor. I'm going to get a minor in theatre and film! woop woop!

Anyhow, this makes it MUCH more fun, and the society courses are extremely interesting.

Also, screw thermo :(

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby TemperedMartensite » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:24 am UTC

micadjems wrote:"Real"?! Oh come on! I'm a materials engineering student,
...
Also, screw thermo :(


Geez man - I'm pretty sure that being a MatE and hating thermo can not work out well. I'm a MatE student and end up using thermo on a huge chunk of my work...

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby micadjems » Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:36 am UTC

Haha, I guess i have had a couple crappy profs...

I'm really interested actually in cleaning up manufacturing processes with the society part of my degree. I went on an industry tour to montreal earlier this year and saw some factories... they had so much waste, and were so dirty!! Saving the environment has to start at the very beginning of the materials cycle...

</environmental rant> :D

One thing i LOVE about engineering, at least at my school, is that we have the Engineering Musical! I'm really involved and its superfun. Its also awesome being a frosh controller, wearing big red jumpsuits to represent Mac Eng haha.

I think a big part of loving your studies is loving your school and faculty!!! <3 I'm red till I'm dead!

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:52 am UTC

Re: difficulty:
Since difficulty of program varies widely between school (an English department at a tech-focused school will be less rigorous than an English department at an Ivy-league or top-tier small liberal arts college), and some people are naturally good at different things (some people will breeze through a difficult program that other equally smart people will have trouble with, just because their intelligence lies in different areas. One of the smartest people in my high school was just not very good at math and math-based science courses (basically everything that's not freshmen biology)), comparing "difficulty" of majors is foolish, since difficulty is not a quantitative measurement.

That said, I'm not an engineer of any sort, since I decided to go to music school instead.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Windmill » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:01 am UTC

Oh you guys are absolutely depressing!

Here I am about to go off to college to major in (civil or mechanical) engineering, and you start talking about how awful everything is. I look forward to everything except the Chemistry classes. I'm truly miserable at Chem. (bad teacher for Chem I, no opportunity to take Chem II in HS)

I guess the plus side is there's no way I'm walking out of class without a date. I'm ready for the 50:1 male to female ratio. My goal is to be on the lowest meal plan possible because I have guys buying me dinner all the time. :wink:

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby scowdich » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:15 am UTC

Oh, being female changes everything. Guys will walk through coals to be your lab/study partner. Expect good things.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Teh Russians » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:26 am UTC

Even though engineering, or for that matter any sort of technically-based major requires a lot more work, it pays off in the end by leaving you with much more options. You can easily get a job right away, start a business based off of some project you've worked on (I actually know a group of people who did this), or go to law school to study something like patent law, in which a technical education really gives you an advantage, as you are much more familiar with the terminology and concepts used by the people you work with.

Also, It is my opinion that liberal arts are easier to learn independently than technical stuff like engineering and computer science.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Nebulae » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:28 am UTC

I'm a bioengineer. There are more females than males. Muahahahahahahahaah.

That being said, I think part of why engineering is difficult to teach, is because you need to have such a broad mastery of so many different subjects, and sometimes, the professor just isn't capable of explaining those fields not directly within his expertise. Case in point: my biochemistry professor trying to explain thermodynamics and entropy :(.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby der inititator » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:45 am UTC

Hm i can't agree with this blog. I do not regret studying mechanical engineering specialising in material sciences. There may be some boring classes, i personally hate fluid dynamics, but all in all most of the classes are fun, you see, what you can do and make money with, and you also have interesting labs. Well you should enjoy math, but why study engineering if you don't.
Maybe you will get very low grades, but thats normal and people in the industry know that.
Ok there may be 10 girls in 150 students, and when you look around you may only recognize 3 as girls on first sight. But after all if you like sciences and it's applications, you have great opportunities.

I do not know what books you use in the US, but i like my books. But on the other hand our teachers institutes must give us their scripts for free. So we nearly have no books.


And with the girls, I think there must be something wrong with the education in the US and here in Germany, because in italy 40 percent of the engineering students are female. in Portugal the same. Why do the girls there like engineering and here they don't?
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby micadjems » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:59 am UTC

Well, in Canada at my school, first year engineering is about 20% female. We have a lot of women in engineering functions and try to get highschool kids to come out.

As soon as i started at university, i knew its where i belonged, and I'm a girl. Everyone made nerdy quotes like me, and knew what I was talking about when I made weird references :D i was so happy!!! The culture really brings me in at my school.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:03 pm UTC

My engineering class was about 30% female, and they had a way lower dropout rate than the boys.

Also, I've never used Fluid Dynamics ONCE since graduation. Hell, I've used sensible heat room decay calculations, but NOT Fluid Dynamics... what a waste.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby jmorgan3 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

Windmill wrote:I guess the plus side is there's no way I'm walking out of class without a date. I'm ready for the 50:1 male to female ratio. My goal is to be on the lowest meal plan possible because I have guys buying me dinner all the time. :wink:


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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby TemperedMartensite » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:15 pm UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:
Windmill wrote:I guess the plus side is there's no way I'm walking out of class without a date. I'm ready for the 50:1 male to female ratio. My goal is to be on the lowest meal plan possible because I have guys buying me dinner all the time. :wink:


Be warned: the odds are good, but the goods are odd.


Haha nice quote. From my understanding the people that mainly use fluid mechanics are the MecE's...even ChemE's don't seem to relish using fluid mech.

"Well, in Canada at my school, first year engineering is about 20% female."

Sounds about right.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby kerohazel » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:37 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:My engineering class was about 30% female, and they had a way lower dropout rate than the boys.

Also, I've never used Fluid Dynamics ONCE since graduation. Hell, I've used sensible heat room decay calculations, but NOT Fluid Dynamics... what a waste.


You could probably use them to make a good geeky pick-up line, though.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Iori_Yagami » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:18 pm UTC

I'm the odd one here, since I went to humanities inclined class in my secondary school and upon finishing entered technical university to study 'CS and IT'. (we call programming software, systems theory and hardware design oriented courses like this). Since I was generally a good student, I was at the top, though it took A LOT of effort and time. I couldn't even walk on a street seeing a car and not automatically recalling 'wheel? rotational moment? speed? acceleration? second derivative of displacement? I need to eat? 'need' is an operator and 'I' and 'eat' are parameters? What would an AI agent do in such a case? do I have to update my knowledge base to reflect this new fact? the clouds in the sky seem to obey normal distribution of thickness, I see? If this street corner is the root of a tree, how deep would be the node holding destination? apparently each node has three branches: left, forward right?....' and it went on and on and on. So, yeah, my mind was rather changed, and I do not really regret this.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby tekno sheep » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:00 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:My engineering class was about 30% female, and they had a way lower dropout rate than the boys.

Also, I've never used Fluid Dynamics ONCE since graduation. Hell, I've used sensible heat room decay calculations, but NOT Fluid Dynamics... what a waste.


*looks at the Catia flow model for his project*

*whistles*

It all depends, mech and aero engineers who go into the aerospace industry will probably use fluids at some point. Anyone else probably won't (there may be exceptions).

Also, I've noticed that civil engineering, at least at my school, has a higher proportion of girls to guys, about 55-45. Is this true elsewhere?

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby thebluefairy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:11 pm UTC

I did both an engineering degree (in mechatronics) and an arts degree, and I would say that all of those criticisms apply equally well to both the courses. Variability in the quality of university education, and the interest the students have in that education, is not restricted to engineering. I really hope that there aren't too many budding engineers who were turned off by this!!

PS I would never have believed it while I was studying, but I use fluid dynamics every day (well, not every weekend)

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Aluminus » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:38 pm UTC

tekno sheep wrote:Also, I've noticed that civil engineering, at least at my school, has a higher proportion of girls to guys, about 55-45. Is this true elsewhere?
Not more girls than guys, but still a lot more than in the other engineering professions. At least at my school.
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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby Adam Tiler » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

I chose probably the absolute worst major and school to meet girls in -- Mining Engineering at University of Missouri: Rolla (27% female when I went there, in a small rural town). Ended up taking a lot of courses in German, which had some of the best female to male ratios on campus. I met my wife in Survey of German Literature II.

Obviously, in my experience it is worthwhile to go out of your way to improve your prospects while pursuing a degree in engineering. Having a steady girlfriend to take the edge off countless hours of classes full of men who are in the field so they can play with explosives is wonderful. I don't think I was all that lucky, either. When you're attending a college populated largely by introverted nerds in a town whose nightlife consists of one bar and a pool hall, it doesn't take much conscious effort to set yourself apart from the pack.

Also, I've noticed that civil engineering, at least at my school, has a higher proportion of girls to guys, about 55-45. Is this true elsewhere?


At Rolla, it was Engineering Management.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby BeerBelly » Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:30 am UTC

I currently hate school because I'm really behind in my lessons, and I don't really 'click' very well with my classmates. So to me, engineering school sucks.

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Re: Engineering Sucks (Apparently?)

Postby mstrzerg » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:15 pm UTC

Just finished my Aero Engineering degree last semester. It was tough, although rocket science isn't as hard as you'd think. :wink: And what is with all the hating on fluid dynamics? I thought it was fun at least.

There is definitely a major difference in the ratio of boys to girls. The often quoted number at my school was 18% female, but many of them were training to become pilots, not engineers. Many people imported relationships from home.

The best teachers I had by far were those who had several years of industry experience. They seemed to make things much more understandable. The worst teachers I had were the ones who got their BS, then their Masters, then their PhD, then decided that they wanted to teach. Those teachers were often aggravating at best.


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