Be the Better Person

Last Tuesday, something happened. It was one of those things where I was immediately like “This is going to be my blog post for next week!” Then, that thing changed on Thursday, making it a little harder for me to go with my original plan. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to share what happened so that I can continue.

So for one of my classes, we have to get 20 volunteer hours. That’s fine. It’s not a problem. I enjoy volunteering. However, my professor wanted us to get the hours at one place. It’s basically a tutoring center, and it’s only open Monday through Thursday from 6-8 P.M. That completely conflicts with my schedule. So, I sent an email to my professor, saying the following:

“I am in your EDMU… class, and I am not sure I will be able to volunteer at [organization]. I usually work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5-9, and I am an officer of a club that meets on Tuesdays, so I need to be there as well. Also, the 3-5 segment would not work for me either because I would either have to leave class early or be late to work. As such, I understand that I need to get my volunteer hours, and I am more than willing to get them somewhere else (probably on the weekends) with your approval. I hope this can be worked out that we find a solution we both agree with. Thank you!”

I thought I was respectful and thorough (there’s a 3-5 segment somewhere else during the week as well). Her response:

“I think you may have to drop the course and take it during a semester when you are less busy, Kim. It is offered every semester so spring might work better.
I don’t know what else to suggest.”

I was crushed when I read her response. This was the third week of class, and we had just received the syllabus that day. I was more than willing to do my best to do what I had to in this class, and here she was telling me to drop the course. At this point, there is no semester where I’m “less busy.” Also, this course is required not only for my major, but also for the teaching program as well. I have to take this course this semester to stay on track if I want to graduate on time. There is no alternative for me. I even looked at other sections of this same course. None of them fit into my schedule. My plan was to talk to my employer and change my work schedule around so as to accommodate her.

So knowing that I can’t drop the class, I go into class on Thursday and even participate in discussion. After class, she pulls me aside and says, “Well, I think I thought of an idea. You said you can do weekends. The Boys and Girls Club sometimes does Saturday mornings. Perhaps you could call them and see if you can volunteer there.” I thanked her but walked out of the class fuming. Why couldn’t she have told me that on Tuesday when she emailed me back?? I mulled it over that whole day, trying to understand her side of things. The only reason I can fathom that she wants us to volunteer at this place is that she’s on the board there.

I went in early to work on Thursday to try to talk to my employer so that he could change my schedule, but he had already left. I saw him on Saturday at work, but that was such a crazy day that I didn’t have time to talk to him. I called the Boys and Girls Club on Friday and got no answer. But when I called on Monday, I received an answer and sent an application in. Now, I am just waiting for a response from them so I can work around my work and classes schedule and still get all my hours in.

I know I’m only three semesters into college, but she is the first professor I have had who is not accommodating in some way. I know that I have to work harder now and I’m going to do all I can to do well in this class.

I mentioned that I am on hold in my life. There’s another area I’m on hold for too. I’m looking to test out of the required speech course this semester, and they only allow the written test in September. I emailed them last Tuesday and Wednesday and as of yet, I have not received a response from them.

If I still have no response, I am going to the department office on Wednesday because this is another requirement for the teaching program. I have no need to be in a speech class. I’ve been giving speeches since 4th grade and cheering about that long as well. I don’t have time to take this class, and I am on the clock to take that this month.

I write all of this to say: Be the better person. Take the initiative. There is usually some sort of alternative to be found. In the new Star Trek (the first in the series), James Kirk says, “I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.” That’s how I feel. Find an alternative. Don’t always accept “no” as the final answer. If you can, find a route. Be the better person and find a new solution. Trust me, people notice. Sometimes it’s up to you to make a change. So if you get the opportunity to change something you don’t like or disagree with, do it.

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