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    Hello, everyone. πŸ™‚

    My name’s Innah and I’m 21 years old. I’m an undergraduate fourth year student taking up architecture, and right now, I’m really struggling… We have a mandatory thesis class, and long story short, I’m failing at the moment. In my three and a half years in this school, I’ve never failed a class or even have grades that are close to failing. I feel very disappointed with myself and this over-looming dark cloud has been following me everywhere… I feel like crying all the time.

    I talked to one of my thesis professors yesterday morning, and he explained to me all the reasons why I got the certain mark for the midterm. I completely understood and accepted his criticisms, but the things he said only made me think less of myself. He was being realistic and honest, but there seemed to be an underlying tone from him that said, “How did you even get here?” He thinks that I can’t draw and I don’t have a sense of a building structure, which are both utterly untrue. I survived my first two years of university drawing everything by hand – especially in the digital age now – and having some of my projects complimented by other students. I have enough common sense to know of how a building will be able to stand, and what materials would be needed. I do agree that my midterm presentation wasn’t that good and didn’t show much of what I intended to show, but he threw in the words “terrible” and “inadequate,” words that when added together equated to “not good enough.” He said those words more than once, as if the dagger in my self-esteem wasn’t deep enough. He even thinks that I’m not creative enough. I only have two options to go about this problem: 1.) withdraw from thesis class and take it the next school year instead 2.) stay in the class and drastically improve the quality of my work by December in order to pull up my mark to just a passing grade. My professor respected my initial decision of staying the class, but he thinks that I have a 50-50 chance of getting through to next semester (then saying that he thinks he’s right), which would then jeopardize my school record. I sat there wanting so badly to cry, and trying to juggle all the constructive, but harsh things that he was saying to me. I felt so upset and embarrassed at myself that I couldn’t even bare sitting there any longer.

    I guess what I’m trying to get at is that because I have low self-confidence, it greatly affects my work performance. I know that I’m not the most exceptional student in my program and it’s something that I’ve been constantly dealing with… I keep thinking that I’m not good enough and I keep comparing myself to others. I’ve decided that I want to withdraw from the class, so that I can take thesis the next school year instead, while expanding my skills and learning new skills. Even with my decision, I still feel upset with myself. I let my anxiety overpower me, thinking that I’m not good enough for myself or for anyone or for anything. The final straw with my professor telling me those critical explanations made me reach my tipping point. I don’t even know where the boundary line is between constructive criticism or making someone feel bad about himself/herself, especially in an art and design school. Being disappointed with myself is just as painful as going through a heartbreak, in my opinion.

    I apologize for my messy story. I’m trying to let out my emotions and I hope that some of you will understand what it is that I’m truly getting at. I would love it if someone shared a similar situation with mine just so I can get more insights on this roller-coaster ride.



    Dear infralugel:

    I would like to point out the real life possibility that the professor who negatively criticized you is an *&^hole, in his professional and personal life. I mean, just because he is a professor, does not mean he is not someone who perhaps terrorizes his wife and children. Always consider the source of criticism.

    Determine WHO is doing the criticizing before WHAT is the criticism. In school and otherwise in life. And if you can’t determine who he is, what kind of a person he is, his criticism is suspect.



    Dear Innah,
    This post made me sad about all the vulnerable school kids and students whose power lays at the feet of their teachers and professors. When they respect you and guide you to become who you are, then it’s power used well. But when they abuse their power and hurt you then they don’t deserve the trust and respect you give them.

    Ask yourself how can you take back your power? How can you turn around this situation to become strong? How will you rise above it and become more of who you are (that you already know you are – as you wrote in your mail)? These are the times that can make you strong! Believe in yourself!


    Infralugal –

    Along with the professor’s critique, were your strengths & assets also pointed out? These are important questions to ask your professor, along with his specific recommendations as for what’s needed for you to gain a higher, passing grade.

    You mention having projects complimented by other students – focus on those compliments, along with your known strengths to achieve the mastery you’re striving for – combining these with those skills you’re still developing. It sounds like you know you have the needed skills. What you’re missing is your perception of what your professor expects. Therefore, if it were me, I’d ask the professor directly – what does he expect specifically, including any and all necessary details to achieve the level of mastery he requires for you to succeed.

    Asking questions of those responsible for our learning shows confidence in your ability and a desire to learn. Being able to bring about these questions through your “teacher’s masterful ways and examples” shows your respect and recognition of said teacher’s position of being a master of that specific skill – usually a win/win situation.

    Don’t let your automatic negative thinking get in your way – stop it as soon as it starts and replace it with positive affirmations that you can try, you will succeed, you believe in yourself, in your own abilities – you will succeed πŸ™‚

    Short of all this – perhaps you’ve taken on more then you can mentally handle at this moment which would then mean it be best to stop now, and try again at a later date when your course load isn’t so heavy. But, since you’ve already invested so much energy and gone past the half way point, I’d seriously take time for introspect, and consider the aforementioned points, before walking away from it.

    Breathe πŸ™‚



    There is something else going on that is causing you to become over-sensitive and depressive – usually it is family or a bf/gf that is the cause – or loneliness !

    Go within and find the cause !!

    You are an intelligent young person with a full life ahead of you – even if you make a mistake you can correct course.

    Please don’t be so hard on yourself because of others !

    GOD bless !!


    @anita — There have been mixed reviews about him from other students; some like him, while some would avoid him at all costs. He also got bad reviews at I had him for two classes in my second year, both of which I survived and garnered a few harsh criticisms here and there. He seems to go on a lot of tangent when explaining something to his class, as well, sometimes losing the whole point of his lecture. We do have a second professor for thesis, but he rarely gets to say everything that he wants or needs to say because Professor A talks a lot and takes up most of the given time for each critique allotted for a student. It’s just my observation… I can’t say that Professor A is a bad teacher because he has been teaching for a long time, but I can’t say that he’s an entirely good professor either. I guess, it’s a mistake on my behalf that I chose this set of of professors. :/

    @Saiisha — I completely agree with you! Those are great questions that can definitely help me learn more about myself, so thank you. I think the only way that I can take my power is to NOT prove to my professor that he is wrong about everything he criticized about me, but to prove to myself that I am more than capable of creating something amazing. My thoughts on my former decision of staying in the class was to prove him wrong, but after much careful weighing of the pros and cons, and self-evaluation, it would be better for me to withdraw and take the time to build my self-confidence and expand my creativity. By doing those things, I’d come back the next school year with a better version of myself and having garnered new skills. πŸ™‚

    — None of my strengths and assets were pointed out at all… I was daggered by his criticisms from the get-go, but I accepted those comments because it was the only thing that I can do from then on. I did ask him that if I were to stay in the class, what should I do in order to pull up my mark and do exceptionally well? His response was that he didn’t know what to tell me. Before I asked him that question though, he told me that it’d be better if I take thesis next year instead, so that for the time being, I can take a few classes that would help me learn more technical skills. However, he really seemed to believe that I didn’t know anything and that I can’t do anything properly, that I’m incompetent. It was the certain vibe that he emitted that really got me down. The negative thinking is difficult to stop sometimes, but I will take your advice to heart and I want to thank you for it. πŸ™‚

    — I think the cause would be the minute confidence that I have on myself… which I have to work on as soon as I can. Thank you for sending positivity! I really appreciate it.

    Immense gratitude from me to you guys. <3


    Hi infralugel,

    Sometimes I think “certain” professors take it upon themselves to be the potential negative voice of the future Real World you’d be entering into. They take pride in being the splash of cold water. And P.S. ~ he KNOWS of the crappy reviews he’s gotten from students. He’s possibly had a REALLY BAD DAY and chose to take it out on YOU!

    What I would do is find the students who get A’s in his class and look at their midterm. Find out what his “pet” student is doing. Read his publications. Look at the buildings he’s designed IRL. What one professor says is “Wonderful” another will say is “Terrible”. Find out what he gives A’s on and what he likes. But here’s the thing: He himself can’t tell you. He may THINK he likes technical stuff, but he may really give A’s on flow of design.

    Good Luck to you, and don’t let him get you down! Remember, some professors make it a point of being ONLY critical. They think it’s a gift. *eyeroll*




    Dear infralugel:

    Your last sentence in the note to me was: “it’s a mistake on my behalf that I chose this set of of professors.” I don’t know about that, I mean, it is difficult to know who the professor is as a person when you don’t know who he is… It would have made more sense in my mind to say: It’s my mistake to be disappointed in myself (“Self disappointment” is the title of your thread) because I was negatively criticized by a person I don’t know or a person I know to have emotional problems that taint his objective evaluation of others (which this guy seems to fit the latter). In other words, his negative criticism of you indicates something unflattering about him, not about you.



    More like: “Disappointed in my professor” than “Disappointed in my self, type thing.

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