Tuesday, July 10, 2012

There is no "i" in group. Right?

A g. An r. An o. A u. A p...

Nope. No "i" to be seen.

Why am I going on and on about this, you ask? Well, let me just relate a little story to you from my college days that is now relevant in my current working life...

First of all, my college days didn't start until I was 25 years old. I tried the college thing once when I was fresh out of High School (after not going off somewhere to play college soccer) and it didn't work out so well. I got $1,800 for my 18th birthday (which was 2 months into my Freshman year) and from there it was skiing all day/every day. So, when I actually decided to do the college thing, I actually did it. I wasn't there messing around and partying. I was actually going to school.

So, a few years in to getting my B.S. in Computer Science I decided to take a desktop publishing class. I loved that class. I loved it so much I switched my major to a B.S. in Graphic Design, which is just not done, by the way. If you're doing graphic design you get a B.A. instead... but I pressed on. Also, around this time Portland State switched from a regular curriculum to this funky other thing (whose name escapes me at the moment) where you basically take 1 class worth a shit-ton of credits rather than doing all the individual classes that would (in theory) give you the same education. I was advised that I had the option to go either way since I had mostly completed 3 years by this point. I opted to stick with what I had.

In my last year, I was chatting with my adviser about graduation when she then informed me that there were two 100 level classes that I had missed that I would need to take in my senior year before I could graduate (I seriously paid a lot of money for this education. You'd think they would have clued me in on that little tidbit of advice before it was almost too late!! Sheesh).

So, I had to take Drawing 101 and I also had to take Graphic Design 102. The drawing class wasn't too bad... except I wasn't that good and when they brought in the male model he was dripping from a body part that ought not to be dripping like that. I felt bad for whoever had to stand on the podium after him.

The GD 102 class, however, almost killed me. The instructor, one Walt Fosque (no fake name for this asshole), was the most lackluster teacher I have ever had the displeasure of taking a class from. He wasn't teaching relevant skills... he was teaching graphic design from the good ol' days. No computers in his class (even though all graphic design is done on computers) and you also had to do 50 thumbnail drawings about an idea before you fully fleshed it out by hand. There were so many complaints that he finally relented half way through the semester and we could use computers... kinda.

Anyway, the final assignment of the class was a group project. I was taking this class in my very last term at Portland State. So I had to pass. Not. An. Option. I already had a job lined up upon graduation and I could not be in summer school because I didn't pass a stupid lower level class. And of course, because of this I was assigned the 2 people in the class who just didn't give a shit as my partners.


I spent the next 3 weeks trying to herd cats and nothing got done. Finally it was finals week and I had no choice but to do the whole project myself. What I'm about to tell you is not an exaggeration. BFF can attest to this all. I was up for 4 days straight working on this thing. I only slept somewhere around 9 hours in that 4 days. I definitely didn't shower (no time) and my hair was so greasy by the end of that 4 days that if anyone had lit up next to me I would have gone up in smoke. Seriously. I was tired, cranky and people were lucky that I wasn't into eating humans. Although I did consider it a few times.

I showed up to the critique this way. I let Walt know before the critique that I had gotten no help and he said he would take that into consideration when grading the other 2. But the project was done so I didn't care.  And I had done a damn fine job on the project as well. It was well-designed and every angle had been carefully thought out. So, when it was my group's turn to present of course I did all the talking because they didn't have a clue what it was that "we" had done. I explained all the different courses of thought and why I had arrived at the decisions that I had. And as I continued to talk, the look on Walt's face got blanker and blanker... like he didn't have a clue as to what language I was speaking or something. It was kind of weird. When I got done Walt then proceeded to ask me questions about things I had already explained. He would ask. I would answer that I had already answered that. And so it went for about 5 minutes. And then he began my critique of the project ripping it apart. Not because it wasn't good (it was) but about shit that didn't even matter. About 1/2 way through I finally had had enough. I called him a jackass, told him the class was a joke and walked out of the room, resigning myself to the fact that I had just signed up for summer school.

Later in the week, one of my group people came up to me all happy that "we" had gotten a B- on the project. I guess I should have known then that Walt was actually doing me a favor. He was preparing me for corporate life. You do the work and others take credit.

Kudos to you, Mr. Fosque. I should have been paying better attention to the actual lesson. Well played, sir. Well played.


  1. That is the most valuable "life" lesson that you had at PSU.... I should have been in your group.

    1. It would have caused you to start drinking too... probably better that you weren't in the class :)

  2. Um, EEEWWW on the model. And yes, this is the unfortunate lesson those of us who are non-slackers must learn eventually. Some in high school, some in college, but all of us are well indoctrinated in the work world. Sorry your work is sucky right now. Hope it gets better soon.