Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Am Vindicated

Well, of course you all know I am on my way to being a quitter, but there is something that is very close to my heart pertaining to nicotine: My Senior Project for college. I graduated in 04, and something has been bugging me since then. But today, I removed that chip from my shoulder.

For my senior project I picked a difficult topic which dove into brain chemistry including neurotransmitters, amyloid plaques (key in Alzheimer's), and touched upon genotyping, symptoms, etc. I worked very hard on my project though the teacher believed that it was not long enough and that I didn't get enough information. She also stated that she didn't think that I worked hard on it.

Though it wasn't a 50 pager, it was about 30-35 pages and I went as in depth into my topic as possible. I explored my own thoughts and of course the few research articles that could be utilized. Frankly, I wasn't going to "beef" up the paper with bullshit, I stuck to my ground of making sense and having solid information. For some reason my efforts went unnoticed and the teacher FAILED me one week before graduation.

The other thing that bugged me is that out of the total of 6 (including myself) in this "class," 3 wrote papers regarding "studies on college students and drinking," and then 2 wrote on the school systems and how they deal with autistic children. The other one I don't recall. My idea came straight from my own head. I had never known about studies and as I plotted my idea about nicotine and possible positive effects on degenerative diseases, specifically alzheimer's, I found minimal information and the information I did find was very new.

So I hope I have painted the picture for you, I don't want to bore you with the papers details, but I can guarantee you that I worked hard, it made sense, and it was a fantastic above and beyond idea for a senior project, and I received an F. I ended up paying for this class to take during summer school and another teacher was assigned to me. She made me meet her 4 times and switch around some sentences in my paper and that was that. She gave me an A and I was legally a graduate!

Living in Park City and having Sundance I saw this movie "Thank you For Smoking." I never really thought about what it was about until I saw all the previews and now it is hitting the box offices. Many friends and coworkers have loved the movie and told me about it. Well, if you all haven't seen it, it talks about the possible good effects that smoking (not smoking-but nicotine) can have on degenerative diseases. (Note: this is only one part of the movie). I COULD HAVE GONE TO HOLLYWOOD WITH MY IDEA...MY PROJECT, but I didn't even get a passing grade.

My husband knows that I have been upset about failing and although I moved on from 2 years ago, he said "you need to write that teacher and tell her what a mistake she made. Does she see any other student ideas (college students drinking) coming out in a movie that really can have an effect on future medications and treatments for serious diseases?" Of course I had to say no. So he encouraged me to write her a little note - not mean but to the point. And today I did. I feel now I can definitely say that the chip on my shoulder and anger I have for her is off my shoulders. I do wonder if she noticed that movie in February and ever thought about my idea or felt guilty for grading me harshly on a true research idea. But now I know she can and will think about me, my project, the movie, and the grade she gave me.

My email went like this..." I hope you have seen the movie 'Thank you For Smoking.' It is funny that my senior project and the movie are so similar and yet the movie hit the box offices well. Even though you did not enjoy my paper, I could have done well in Hollywood with my idea. I guess we all make mistakes, but gratefully your mistake did not hold me back, I still graduated and I am doing great!"

I think I handled it nicely and yes perhaps I should have let it go, but I really felt cheated and that F really hurt my GPA alot...right before graduation. Now I can say that I have done everything in my power - with help from the producers of the movie, and the society who is intrigued by such a film - to make sure that she will ever forget me and perhaps she too can accept that she made a mistake. I feel great that that chapter is over I wasn't stupid or incapable, I did my best and I am still doing my best!

(The movie of course is hollywood so it doesn't depict my senior project in full but the idea is there. To quit smoking you can use some NRT's and these NRT's (gum, lozenges, the patch) can have some positive effects on people with degenerative diseases. How awesome would that be if nicotine could take away symptoms of alzheimer's? Already there have been a few studies that have shown that some patients remember more and that some symptoms have gone away.)

The picture depicts new research on a an antibody to help break addiction of nicotine.


Tracy said...

Dear Bean,

I am proud of your original idea, and prouder still that you stood up for yourself today. I'm glad you feel vindicated, and glader still that you didn't let that teacher's negativity toward you crush your spirit or your intellect. I'm happy there are unique people in the world like you, and happier still that great minds like yours are thinking new and original thoughts from which the world you live in will benefit. Congratulations and thank you!

Bean said...

Thank you Tracy, your support and thoughts are much appreciated!

Bean said...

Well, I just received an email from the teacher saying all students receive the grades that they get. At least I am able to show her new information and how my idea was genuine, complex, and quite intriguing for a senior project

Buttercup said...

Bean, I would have been shocked if the teacher changed the grade. I think you should feel good about having an interesting idea and cut your losses. You graduated girl and you're on to bigger and better things. Right?

Ally Bean said...

to make sure that she will ever forget me and perhaps she too can accept that she made a mistake.

your story makes me happy. i had a similar sort of incident when i was in undergrad so i'm feeling a vicarious thrill from your vindication. i'm glad that you stood up for yourself in this way and I really hope that your prof does learn from all of this.

Bean said...

Thank you ally bean. Perhaps she will learn or perhaps she will not. It's neither here nor there but a chip is uplifted. Buttercup: Of course this hasn't held me back and I am onto bigger and better things. It was more of closure for me when what she had done had really hurt me, now I can really feel good about what I did with. It was perhaps more than the paper as well, she always told me that bc of my social life that I would not succeed. And I have succeeded and will continue to succeed in my life.