Dude, That's Rude: Assignments

By Kirstin E. Anderson

As college students, assignments are constantly on our minds and schedules. While we all have the rare classes that give us some nice, simple assignments (thanks Ancient Greek Hero!), many professors and teaching fellows hand out grueling assignments that seem wholly unfair. There are some things that just shouldn’t be done when assigning work.

Single-Spaced Papers

Imagine this — you’ve gone into a class prepared for the 5-10 page papers listed on the syllabus. You’re feeling good, ready to start writing, until you hear the worst words in the English language: single-spaced. Single-spaced papers defeat the point of giving the page limit ahead of time, since the amount of writing doubles. It’s ridiculous: Double-spaced papers are much easier to read, and students are used to calculating how long they will take to write. Single-spaced papers help no one in this process, and are simply a painful trick to make it seem like your assignments are shorter than they actually are.

Multi-Part Questions

Again, we’ve all been here. Your TF has apparently blessed you with a shorter pset — only 3 questions this week! Then, you open up your pset and are hit with it: parts a-j on problem 1, parts a-h on problem 2, and parts a-o on problem 3. Why? This trick done by teaching staff is just cruel, and it’s worse than just making each part its own question. And for the love of all that is holy, please don’t even consider adding subparts to the subparts of problems.

Assignments Due on Exam Day

You know what students don’t have time for when they are studying for an exam worth 40 percent of their overall grade? Doing a pset for the same class. Such assignments are the trademark of the quintessential self-important professor, thinking their class is always a top priority. The rudeness only increases if the pset is on material not on the pressing midterm, or the pset is harder and longer than usual.

While we have built up a tolerance to lots of the shenanigans pulled on assignments, there are certain things that clearly cross a line. If you have a TF or professor that does these things, just tell them, “dude, that’s rude.”

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