This post is in response to the WordPress daily one-word prompt: Tardy
My husband attended a private Christian College where he was required to take Bible courses and attend chapel. I remember him telling me about one of his Bible professors, who on the first day of class told his students that he would under no circumstances put up with tardiness. He said each class period, when the bell rang, the students had better be in their seats ready to learn because when that bell rang, he would close the door and not allow any tardy student to enter his classroom.
He wasn’t kidding. My husband recalls one particular day when the bell rang and there was a student dashing to get inside the classroom door. The professor already had his hand on the door knob and was pulling the door closed. What ensued was a small tug of war of the door between the professor on the inside of the classroom and the student on the outside. I guess you can probably guess who won that battle. The professor did not allow the student to enter the classroom and proved that he had meant what he had said about tardiness.
I can’t recall ever being late to a class in college or veterinary school. I was usually early if anything. When I was a senior in veterinary school and doing my clinical rotations, we had to do a two-week farm animal ambulatory rotation and a two-week Equine ambulatory rotation. We rode to farms in full-service trucks which were stocked with medicines and other medical equipment.
There was this one professor in farm animal ambulatory who the students always dreaded riding with. Rumor had it he was very strict and stern, didn’t seem to care much for students, and you didn’t dare be late or he would flat leave you. Rumor also had it that in this doctor’s ambulatory truck, on the front seat, was a file box filled with index cards. On each index card were questions. The questions could pertain to any disease or condition pertaining to cows, sheep, goats, pigs, etc. Any livestock or anything pertaining to large animal medicine was game. Usually on route to the farm call, he would pick a student (usually 2-4 students went on each farm call) and tell that student to open the box and pick a card. The student then had to pick the card, read it aloud and attempt an answer or discussion of the scenario. And then the students were drilled. And rumor had it that this professor never seemed to give out good grades no matter how well you felt you had performed on the questions or the farm calls. I’ll admit, I was terrified to ride with this doctor. I won’t even tell you what my classmates used to dream of doing to that file box that rode on the front seat of that ambulatory truck.
One day while on farm animal ambulatory, our group was told that a call had come in. We were to meet at a certain time and ride with this professor to perform some reproductive palpations. This farm was far away. When it came time, my two classmates who were on the rotation with me, were nowhere to be found. Like I said, this professor did not tolerate tardiness. If you weren’t there with bells on ready to go at the designated time, he wouldn’t wait around and would leave you. It dawned on me when the professor looked at me and said, “I guess you’re it, Let’s Go!” that I would be riding solo with him. I would be getting all the questions and getting all the drilling. I didn’t know whether to throw up or wet my pants. I kept hoping and praying my classmates would show. I may have even tried to stall him because according to my clock my classmates still had 2 minutes to show up.
They didn’t show and so I rode solo that day. I literally shook in my boots. But I never saw the dreaded file box of questions that day (and believe me, it was the first thing I looked for when I got in the truck), nor was I ever drilled. It seemed like we drove for hours upon hours to get to the farm. Our conversation was sparse and casual and mostly pertained to veterinary school in general. The call went smoothly (I found him to be a good teacher and I learned a lot from him that day) and soon we were on our way back to the school. I found this professor was amiable, maybe a little shy, but didn’t seem too terribly hard to get along with as I had heard. Perhaps, maybe all the things I had heard about him were simply rumors? By the time we made it back to the school, I was breathing a whole lot easier. My opinion of this professor had changed. And then I received my grade from him for the rotation and my grade was lower than what I felt it should have been. I was more than disappointed but certainly grateful that I had not been tardy that day. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of grades my tardy classmates received in that rotation.