What I learned from my university

When I was studying at the university I didn’t learn a whole lot about how a person is supposed to do his job as much as how a person shouldn’t be doing his job. Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. What’s in your interest is not always the right thing to do. Always try to do the right thing not only by yourself but to other people as well. Sometimes people delude themselves into thinking that what’s best for them is best for other people as well. This can also apply to a whole group which expects you to do right by them without even considering your wellbeing. Groups of people could also be greedy and selfish.
  2. Segregation, esoteric knowledge, and double standards are never a good idea when your job is to teach young people how to do their job or how to be better at it. Still, some teachers don’t even realise what are the real goals of education and personal growth.
  3. Don’t expect to learn how to do your job professionally  from someone who doesn’t know how to his own.
  4. Don’t rely on people who don’t deliver on their promises. “The cat ate my homework” excuses are pretty easy to discern, so be on the lookout for them.
  5. Refuse to participate in elections or decisions that don’t inform the whole student body (very often they will include a select group of “chosen, god-given talents” individuals not excluding distant and not so distant relatives).
  6. Don’t accept excuses about why someone isn’t doing his job properly when it’s clear how things should be done. Don’t let unprofessional behaviour become normalized. Some people spend so much time pretending to do their job they forget how real work is supposed to be carried out.
  7. Always be positive about work and the people around you but differentiate that and looking through rose-coloured glasses. Problems will always appear and a person has to take active participation in the solving of these, so that they can be resolved. Just because a problem isn’t real for you that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Be mindful of other people’s problems and situation and try to do your best to help them. Also be careful of toxic people (believe me they’re real) and people who try to make you a part of a dysfunctional or abusive relationship. These people usually have their heads so far their a**es there’s really no reason why you should engage with them, let the professionals do their work.
  8. Beware of who carry what I call “the judge” stereotype. These people usually have a higher opinion about themselves and a lower opinion about pretty much everyone else who doesn’t acknowledge it. Their very philosophy gets in the way (sometimes very drastically) of them having a realistic perception of themselves and others.  They rarely ackowledge other people’s succsess but tend to amplify their own. These people never  accept criticsm even if it’s delivered in the most professional way. They will often be people of higher academic status (not real “status” but whatever) or who think that they  have some advantage over you. As “judges” they can do just that and anyone tries to correct it them (even slightly) is most likely to e ignored, or even worse become an outcast and which will exclude him from the next “secret meeting” of the “higher intellect”. Folks like that carry the attitude that you have no right to be complaining about antyhing as long as they’re O.K., even if they’re not doing their job correctly. Sometimes your job will be to complain about things in order for them get better about everybody. If your reasonable complaints are not met with reasonable actions, move on.
  9. Social engineering and slyness can’t and shouldn’t substitute reason, intellect and common sense. In Bulgaria “slyness” is often used by people who’re are too lazy and hypocritical to realise how paradoxical it looks from above. Social engineering can never be a substitute for real intellect nad hard work. Be careful if people who carry that philosophy around because when it comes to getting the job done these people never work. If you see people like this be proactive in getting them out of your team or your life.
  10. If you strive to do your job in a proactive manner, work hard and be mindful of other people’s opinions (take action not just when it suits you to do so) people will respect you and complaints should be rare. Yet, if there are,  consider first if there’s something in your working philosophy which may be off track and then everything else. Don’t consider something as the right thing to do just because you’ve been doing it for so long you rarely think about why you do it. Sometimes inertia can get in your way.
  11. Just because someone says “this is the way we do things here” doesn’t mean you should accept what’s dealt to you or let their unprofessional behaviour become normalized. (I’ve also heard excuses like the business environment, the resources the institution has, or the socio-economic state of the country – people can come up with all kinds crazy excuses about why they shouldn’t try hard at their job.)

Crazy Botch

Crazy Botch was the only girlfriend I had from the university (yeah, you know what follows). She was studying  Arabic or something of the sort. We met on an excursion to Greece organized from the university where Crazy Botch started exchanging glances with me. It later turned out that she only did so after consulting with her female friend that found me quite charming (so modest, I know).

Her father worked “security” and for those of you which don’t know what this means in Bulgaria, it means pretty much the same as archaeology – something very shady. I was even warned that I shouldn’t tell anyone about her father’s meeting with the other people from his “security” firm. Anyway, I’m not here to write about that, Crazy Botch was a handful in itself.

I was very motivated to have a proper relationship with Crazy Botch for some altruistic reason but with time I started to feel that something about her was a little bit off. She would often fall into fits of rage because I’ve made some stupid (but obvious) joke but even more often for no reason at all (sounds familiar?). There was this time when we went to the mall to have a snack or something and I tried to kiss her – she pushed me back and the second time I tried to get closer for a kiss she said “fuck off”, got really angry and made to leave. I was said to see her go for the softhearted jello I was and just stood there wondering. I was at the same place when she got back and said, “Let’s go”. Just before we got to her place she said “Please don’t tell Mommy and Daddy that I acted this way, and acted as if nothing had happened for the rest of the evening.

The was some kinky stuff with her and at times,  she even seemed to like it and yet there seemed to be times where she seemed to be disgusted with it. I think the strangest thing was when I found that she had put me on speaker while we were talking on the phone. I think she was trying to prove to her parents how disgusting and perverted I was. I think she kind of got off from it. I’ve heard her speak similar stuff about her best friend (yeah, the one who originally “liked me”) with whom she has been for most of her life.

The difference between her behaviour when we were alone and when she was with her parents (also the fact that she was constantly comparig herself with other people while doing nothing{a.k.a the best way to never be wrong}) led me to the conclusion that I should get out as fast as possible, so one morning when she made a very nasty remark while we were lying in bed in the apartment of her parents I decided that I can’t and shouldn’t take it anymore, put on my clothes and left in a hurry. I could tell just from the look in her mother’s eyes that she was very offended by the way that I was leaving.

I didn’t want to answer her calls from that moring on but she didn’t seem to get the hint. First there were the dissapointed texts, then the apologetic ones. In the end there were the threaths and “what would happen if she had contracted some STD from me”. I think she was under the impression that I was so much in love with hear that I wouldn’t pick up the phone in fear of her breaking up with me (don’t look at me, that’s just the general impression I got from that person, to be clear – a very deep narcissim).

I saw her friend a couple of times in the university after that and she seemed to have a strengthened interest in me. I think Crazy Botch told her of the kinky stuff “I made her” do and and she found them to her liking. It’s sad that at that time I already considered them as one organism. She tried to approach me a couple of times but I played the dead  squirrell until I didn’t see them anymore.

2015 – the worst year of my life?

So, what made 2015 so special?

There was that time at the beginning of the year where my dog almost died and I had to carry it up and down the stairs on my hands just to take her out to pee (wasn’t the elevator working?).

At the same time there was the possibility of my sister being sewed about something she had no part of but in the end she wasn’t.

My dad had to be admitted to a psychiatric clinic again but after he started taking medications everything got better for awhile.

Later in the year while I was away it turned out that our dog had to be put down because she was too old. On the day after my dog got put down my grandmother died.

At that point I went back home. I wasn’t feeling much, just a hint of something like a very deep emptiness at the very bottom of which there maybe was sadness. But I never got to that bottom, I only floated on the surface.

Not much happened that year.

The Meeting

I wrote to Mira Mayer, the dean of the MA program at the New Bulgarian University explaining my “situation”. I wasn’t sure she’ll respond and what the consequences might be so my first e-mail was anonymous. She responded that she can’t do anything about my complaint if I don’t use my “real identity” probably to make sure that I was indeed a student at the university. I responded with a second e-mail fully explaining what my deal was and she answered that I can meet with her at her office.

I went to the university and scheduled a meeting with her in two weeks after that day. The whole scheduling part was awkward because the male secretary asked me what was the purpose of my meeting and I replied “Abuse of a student by a teacher from the university”. My answer was not thought over and yet it conveyed perfectly what I’ve experienced. “And this student, is it you?”, he asked. “Yes”, I replied.

The meeting seemed like a long time from that day so I thought a lot about what I was going to say. Should I include every unprofessionalism that my teachers have made during my 5 years at the university or should I settle for the most appalling ones? Some of them were so absurd in their making I doubted she would even believe me. I think I settled for the middle – I skipped most of the horrid ones but kept enough to let her know (or so I thought) that the situation was serious. She had a small ledger to take notes as I explained my complaint in more detail. I mentioned names of students and teachers but she didn’t seem to be writing any of the teacher’s names. Yet, she seemed to believe and be truly disturbed by at least some of my stories. She kept asking me these questions about my current engagement with the university, “whether I was a regular student at the university, have I paid my last tax for the semester”, and so forth. I’m not sure if she wasn’t checking to see if I was her concern at all. “And now you don’t have a supervisor or your theme written?”, she asked like everything that I’ve told her about my negativity filled experience at the university was not a big deal. “I don’t want to graduate”, I said. “So, what do you want me to do?!”, and I said “I haven’t yet given up on the university but I want to be done with my current MA, also I want my money back so I can start a new MA that’s not so horrible”. She replied that it wasn’t in the university’s policy to give money back but she’ll “do something” and she’ll call me, “you did leave your number right?”. She already had my e-mail and we’ve been keeping a correspondence, so I thought it very weird.

At the end, I didn’t ask for my money because I really believed that I was going to get them back, I just wanted her to understand how serious these things were for me.

It’s been three months and she still hasn’t called.

P.S. It would be ironic for a person who has written about racism, The Holocaust and the like, let her students be oppressed.

Maybe it’s just me.