Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum I got called a "bully" again, and was reminded of this show Reply To: I got called a "bully" again, and was reminded of this show


One time in grad school, I signed up for a course entitled “Hard Problems in Combinatorial Optimization”.  I was struggling the first few weeks, so I visited the professor and asked what I could do (background reading, etc.) to understand the course material better.  His entire response was basically that I might not have the mathematical maturity to handle the course.

Objectively speaking, he was correct.  However, the way he stated it made me think that not only was I presently unprepared for the course, but also that I had no hope of handling it ever.  I ended up taking a few semesters off because of how hopeless that meeting made me feel.

It would have been far better if he’d taken a few minutes to look at what I was having trouble with, comparing it to my background, and recommending a few courses or books that would get me up to speed for his course.

Perhaps the OP’s mistake is not giving realistic feedback, but whether or not it’s presented in a way that leaves the hearer with (a) crushed morale, and (b) no idea of how to proceed to address the shortcomings.