My Humorous Commentaries in The Cannon

The Cannon is published by the students of Christian Brothers University.



  1. Why Students Are So Darn Confused
  2. Say, what?
  3. 10 Best Ways to Confuse a Graduate School Applicant

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Why Students Are So Darn Confused

Written by Stanislav Kelman

(Edited by Naomi Van Tol)

This commentary is based on my personal collection of funny teacher's quotes.
It first appeared in The Cannon newspaper on May 2, 1995.

Everything is blamed on us. They say we are lazy. They claim we are immature. They insist we are ignorant. But what do they do? Well, they try to teach us.

Here are some authentic quotes that were uttered by CBU professors during the last two semesters. Names have been withheld to protect the guilty.

"It's straightforward in the backwards sense," one says. If you don't quite understand what that means, he explains further: "It's sort of reverse of what you've learned in calculus." Is that clear enough?

Fortunately, sometimes they can see that you are hopelessly confused. So, they say something like, "I know you don't know what I am talking about, but I'll just write it down." Way to go!

If you still want to know what the point of all this stuff is, they will justify: "Now, I didn't mention all of this just for the hell of it ... Excuse me." One claimed that "it is so multi-faceted that I couldn't even begin to tell you." Yeah, right.

When talking about a backward student who still didn't get it, they say that "he had minor serious problems." When asked why they make life so complicated, they are sometimes honest with us. As one said, "I never go straight."

Of course, they answer all the easy questions themselves. For example, in a junior engineering class, you can learn this: "What does the slider do? It just slides." When you get to the senior level, you go back to basics: "Sixteen squared is, what? A heck of a lot!"

Quite often, they ask questions that nobody can really answer: "Why doesn't the air flow go fat, dumb, and happy around the corner?" You are confused again. But then the lesson is over, and you hear: "That's it for today. I'll see you in about an hour."

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Say, what?

Written by Stanislav Kelman

(Edited by Bettie Abernathy)

I liked the idea so much, I did it again.
This article first appeared in The Cannon newspaper on February 29, 1996.

Professors are weird. They have a unique language. They live in another world. See for yourself - these are some examples of what we've learned from them in the past few months.

All teachers love definitions and they are quite good at redefining things. Here's one: "Black surfaces are called black because they look completely black." No kidding! Another surprise: "An equation is non-linear because it is not linear." Gee, what a turn! Or get this: "Square root of anything is three." That's math at its best!

However, not everything is this easy. You must know that, "The definition of a minimum is ... that you are flat." Kinda scary. Another spooky thought: "Your ear is a Fourier analyzer." Hmm, indeed.

Surely, there are some things they are not completely sure about: "It's a chain rule, or ... whatever they call it in Calculus." Like one said: "Not exactly an exact science, isn't it?"

They also enjoy asking confusing questions like "Am I going in a circle, ellipse, or parabola?" Fortunately, in another class you learn that "You cannot go as a crow flies." Too bad that college doesn't teach us to fly anymore.

"In the problem statement we're asked to find life," one says. Hey, there's no life at this school!

Here's a final cut: "If you don't understand anything, stop me." No, thanks. We'll just keep listening. We ain't no perfect neither.

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10 Best Ways to Confuse
a Graduate School Applicant

Written by Stanislav Kelman

(Edited by Bettie Abernathy)

This comes from my own experience. Nothing invented.
This article first appeared in The Cannon newspaper on February 29, 1996.

  1. Require all the documents to be sent by a deadline. Never mention the exact date.
  2. Provide a regular 6 by 9 inch envelope. Demand that you put two copies of the application, letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, and all official college transcripts in it.
  3. Request some documents to be sent to the graduate studies office, and some directly to the department. Do not provide either address.
  4. Ask to describe applicant's research and teaching experience giving the addresses of the employers. In one line of text.
  5. Mention different application fee amounts in different places on the application form.
  6. Ask that you specify every damn undergraduate course ever taken, the instructor's name, number of hours in class, and the books used.
  7. Create five identical forms with different headings: for the main office, for the department, for fellowship consideration, for the registrar's office, and for statistical purposes. Make up different deadlines for each form. But ask to enclose them all in a single envelope.
  8. Ask to specify the date when applicant's permanent address will expire.
  9. Skip a question number in the application form.
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