BAKER LAB—Organic Chemistry TA Kristen Pletcher ‘23 bolstered the confidence of nervous students during a pre-final review session last Thursday with true Chem Department spirit. After Rachel Cobb ‘25 attempted to clarify her understanding of stereoisomers, Pletcher replied with a reassuring question of her own: “Did your parents find it hard to raise a child who ended up such a disappointment?”
“I’ll give you all my number one piece of advice for this final: find a new major,” said Pletcher. “Your presence at this review session only confirms the fact that none of you are cut out for Chemistry.If you put together all two of your brain cells, maybe you’d do okay in Communications,” Pletcher continued, assuring the students that everything was going to work out just fine for them. Pletcher then turned to face Cobb. “And you specifically, you’re clearly ready to stop studying right this very moment. A more valuable use of your time would be trying to pass your hand through a table by lining up each of the individual atoms. TAing this class is incredibly hard work, but there’s no greater reward than knowing that I won’t have to see any of you ever again.”
After her rousing pep talk, Pletcher offered the students a healthy snack. “Here, have a bite of this,” she prompted, holding out a piece of chalk. “I bet this looks delicious to you. Mmm tasty, right? If you’re asking questions like that you must be eating this stuff by the boxful.” Though the students were touched by Pletcher’s kind gesture, they declined to partake in the scrumptious sedimentary rock as their brains were already filled up with knowledge.
“It’s nice to have the teaching staff take a personal interest in my education. No other TA has ever asked me about my parents before,” said Cobb. “I was really nervous for this final, but now I know that there’s no point in stressing over something I’ll never be able to do.” Cobb reported that she had spent the prior two days cramming for the final, but after the review session she felt able to simply weep openly about her unpromising future.
The review session continued almost entirely without event until another student requested that Pletcher talk at a marginally slower place, forcing Pletcher to pedagogically bash him over the head with a titration burette as dictated by the course syllabus.