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Mara Casar mmc9 at acpub.duke.edu
Thu Jul 11 10:53:55 EST 1996

Susan Jane Hogarth wrote:
> Mara Casar wrote:
> >  I got frustrated and the tears started flowing
> > - I couldn't help it.  Unfortunately, he thought I was crying on purpose
> > to get sympathy!  He became even ruder and accused me of trying to get
> > him to feel sorry for me so he'd raise my grade.  The only way out of the
> > situation was major brown-nosing... which I am not proud of.

> I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. What's "major brown-nosing", how did
> it help the situation, and why was it the "only way out of the situation"?

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear.  "Major brown-nosing" - sorry, it's kind of 
vulgar - kissing up is probably a better way to phrase it.  I tried to 
explain to this man that I wasn't crying to get sympathy and to please 
overlook my emotional reaction, but I was having a hard time expressing my 
thoughts on Greek philosophy to him since they were at a very basic level 
compared to his years of work in the field, etc.  My intention was simply 
to repair the damage it appeared my tears had caused.  However, I felt I 
had to place the "blame" on myself rather than on him - i.e. "if you don't 
understand what I'm saying it must be my fault" - because I didn't know 
how else to deal with him.

I suppose my original question, then, is this: what would be a better way 
to diffuse this sort of situation?  I know that the way I handled it was 
not ideal because it made me feel (and look) like I was an idiot. There 
has to be a dignified alternative!


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