Professor Haughty


Early in the Classics degree, it became clear I would have to take Ancient Greek and Latin languages classes. As well as not wanting to be there, I would have to learn shit I didn’t want to know. This really wasn’t working out. I gave the Greek course a go for a few weeks, but couldn’t get my head around even the alphabet. I decided this degree wasn’t for me and arranged a meeting. My mind was a blur. But I turned up to a cramped room and met an ageing, plump professor who looked over half moon glasses. Wearing a brown corduroy jacket and a blue-checked cotton shirt, he had a bald head with tufts of grey hair over his ears.

He shifted in gloomy surroundings and smiled in a condescending way that irritated me. “Ah, you’re the one who’s scared of Greek.”

“Not so much scared as the one who didn’t know it was compulsory.”

“You should read the small print Mr Stanford,” he said slowly.

“If you mean the prospectus, I’ve got it here.” I flipped the pages. “It’s described as the ‘Chance to learn Greek’ on page forty-seven.”

He blinked several times. “Well, we’re giving you that chance now.”

“But the Greek course has to be taken by everyone doesn’t it?”

“Yes, and your point is?”

“The prospectus gives the impression it’s optional. What you’re saying is there’s no choice at all.”

“Hmmphh, I don’t see it like that.” The smile had dropped.

“Well, there’s a big difference between having a chance to do something and being forced to do it. I don’t think your prospectus is very accurate.”

“So, what do you want from me?” He asked, eyebrows raised.

“I’d like to switch courses to the joint honours degree in History and Politics.”

The professor clasped his hands in front of his mouth for a moment. “It is highly unusual to change courses so early in the academic year, but…” He breathed in and looked out of the window. “I’ll make an exception in this case,” he said in a disgruntled tone. The uncomfortable meeting ended with the completion of necessary paperwork. I thanked him and said goodbye.

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