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Angelo DiTocco

BINGHAMTON, NY, Feb. 8 – A local mathematics professor at New York’s “Premier Public Ivy” has reportedly held one of the most excruciatingly long class sessions in history, according to Jack Hutchington, a student in the class who had been planning to make a move on his female colleague that day. “What I went through has to fall under cruel and unusual punishment!” exclaimed Jack in an interview, still in traumatic shock from the incident.

The professor in question, Malcolm Forrester, is one of two instructors for Analysis of Number Systems, also known as MATH 262. Students’ opinions indicate that he does a decent job of teaching the class. “He’s not great, but at least he’s better than Lindenberg,” one RateMyProfessors review said, referring to the professor for the other section. “All that guy does is read off the slides.”

Yet this fateful Thursday afternoon has caused Jack to lose the respect he once had for his professor. “I thought this guy was alright, but now I’m not so sure. I never thought he’d do anything like this. If only the Add/Drop deadline hadn’t passed already.”

Many would think that holding a class a few minutes after its scheduled ending time is just an honest mistake. However, Jack claims that Forrester should have taken greater consideration when deciding what material to cover that day to avoid causing any undue stress on his students.

The class began at 12:30 PM, as students were filing into their seats in Classroom Wing 146 and preparing to spend the next hour and a half doing various activities such as playing Tetris, doing work for other classes, and checking social media. Seated in the middle of the room was Jack, and next to him was Rachel, the girl to whom he had been talking during the past few class sessions. The first unit test of the class was the following week, and while the other students were fearful of how difficult it might be, Jack was apprehensive for an entirely different reason.

“I figured I’d try and ask for her number so that we could study together. It would be a good way to see her outside of class and get to know her more,” explained Jack. But the task of acquiring those ten magical digits can be a difficult one, even when you have the perfect excuse. 

With a couple minutes left before the beginning of class, Jack started off by saying hello to Rachel and making light conversation with her as usual. But he wasn’t able to ask the burning question on his mind just yet. “I was gonna get around to it, but then Forrester decided to start lecturing at 12:29 instead of 12:30. How dare he?” Jack complained to us, making sure to also emphasize that it was not his lack of confidence that prevented him from carrying out his plans at that moment.

But Jack did not let this small setback affect him, because he knew he had other opportunities. Forrester’s class is structured in such a way that halfway through each lesson, he puts some example problems on the board and lets the students work on them together. It was there that Jack could hopefully resume the conversation and get the job done. He recounts, “So I’m sitting here, pretending to be paying attention to the prime factorization algorithm or whatever, just waiting for him to get to the examples.”

But the examples just weren’t coming. 1:15, the halfway point for the class, came and went. Then 1:20. Then 1:25. The professor continued to present slide after slide, equation after equation, bullet point after bullet point.

Already unnerved by having to wait nearly a whole hour, Jack was alarmed when a certain slide showed up on the projector. “You wanna know what it said? ‘Section 2.2!’ He just skipped the examples and went straight to the next lesson! Was there really that much material that had to be covered?”

But there was one beacon of hope for him. Upon starting this new section, the professor told the class that this lesson would be “a short one.” Maybe, Jack hoped, Forrester would end the class early and spare him from the agony of having to keep the nerve-wracking question in his head for another whole half hour. So he did the only thing he could and kept waiting for Forrester to adjourn the class so he could make his move. His slightly shaky handwriting had started devolving into what looked more like aimless scribbling.

A page of the notes Jack took during this lecture

It was at 1:40 when Jack noticed that Forrester was reaching the end of his presentation. “I saw that he was on slide 47 out of 49, and that was good. It was all gonna be over soon.” Yet his lesson still seemed to go by extra slowly for the now-perspiring student. “He got to the last slide, and he was going on and on. He just wouldn’t shut up!”

At 1:45, the professor went back to his computer and moved his cursor over to the ‘close’ button on PowerPoint. At last, it was Jack’s time to shine. Or so he thought. Because as Forrester closed the application and noticed some students packing up, he said something that would quell their excitement and prolong Jack’s suffering in particular. “Hold on; I’m not done yet,” he assured the class, proceeding to open Visual Studio so he could go through a C++ program he wrote that was supposedly related to the lesson.

“It’s like he read my mind!” an increasingly irate Jack told us. “And why does the class have a coding component anyway? It’s so stupid! Just teach us the math stuff and move on!”

In the next act of Forrester’s plan to seemingly torture Jack, he ran the program and proceeded to explain his code in excruciating detail. “Why did he feel the need to remind us how a for-loop works? I already know how a for-loop works! I’m a CS major for fuck’s sake!” It was at this point that our protagonist had reached unprecedented levels of anxiety. He described his heart rate during that time as being “absolutely not normal.” For all he knew, the class could end at any moment, but he had no idea when that would happen.

After explaining his first run-through of the program, Forrester thought it would be necessary to change the numbers inside the program and run it again to show the class how it would affect the results. This proved to be quite redundant: “What do you think is gonna happen when you change the number inside the loop from 5 to 10? The loop is gonna run 10 times instead of 5!”
Forrester repeated this process several times, each time over-explaining to the class how each and every line of code would process the data. Time ticked by ever-so-slowly for me– I mean, Jack. It was 1:57, then 1:58, then 1:59. Then 2:00, the time the class was supposed to end. Then 2:00:15, then 2:00:30, then 2:00:45…

At 2:01, the professor finally figured he was satisfied with how many different combinations of numbers he tested the program with. So he turned to the class and asked, “Any questions?” With everyone all packed up and ready to get out of class by now, surely no one would be asking any questions over such a simple program. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Jack prepared to get Rachel’s attention and finally get his question over with. But when he saw a hand raise at the front of the class, he was put on the edge once again. The slow-witted student asked, “Why doesn’t the loop run 11 times if it goes from 0 to 10?”


The line of code that single-handedly made the class 15 minutes longer

As Forrester finished his long-winded walkthrough, he turned back to the unintelligent student and asked if his explanation was sufficient, as if it wasn’t ten times longer than it needed to be. The imbecile sat there in silence for nearly a whole hour, wearing a confused expression on his face as he tried to get the concept through his thick skull and into his hollow brain. “I swear to God, if he still didn’t understand it, I was gonna have to drag his ass all the way to the East Gym so I could shove him into one of the lockers there.” But it seems that the single-celled organism was able to read the room and notice that he was wasting everyone’s time with his stupidity. “Okay, I get it,” he said. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, except for Jack, as he was so distracted by his own thoughts that he could barely process what was happening at this point.

At 2:03 PM, the professor uttered his final four words: “Have a good weekend.” Chairs began to move. Students began to rise from their seats. Noise began to spread throughout the classroom. And it was finally time for Jack to do what he had been waiting to do for the longest 90 minutes of his life.

    So he turned to Rachel, only to find her completely absent from her desk. It seems that at some point during Forrester’s de facto tutoring session with the knucklehead, she had taken the initiative to leave the room early, unnoticed by Jack. “I can’t believe it! That bastard took away my chance!” Jack complained to us as if he had any chance to begin with. “Now I have to wait a whole month for the next test!”

I’ve decided to publish this story as a warning for all professors, especially the rambly types. As easy as it is to get into the groove of explaining topic after topic, it’s just as important to recognize how much lecturing is too much. Looking at my—I mean—Jack’s perspective, you can see that sometimes people have extenuating circumstances that need to be taken into account. And I can guarantee that no student has ever been disappointed to hear the words, “Let’s just cover this next time.”

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