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Leicester Special Collections

Sylvia Dowling's Academic Life

Professor Evans: A Professor of Principles

An artistic rendition of Professor Evans

8 October 1956

Sylvia and the rest of her class are waiting for their professor of History to arrive for their lecture. It is 9 o'clock in the morning, and the professor has still yet to arrive. Finally, closer to 10 o'clock, Professor Evans arrives, and informs the class in tones of indignation and disgust: "the timetable assumed I would give a lecture at 9 o'clock!! They should have known better." Even the professor refused to wake up that early, which suited Sylvia and the other students just fine.

We all know that one quirky professor-- the one who you remember well after you graduate. The memories these oddballs leave us with are special, as they break the stereotype that universities are all filled with no-nonsense, straight-edged, and serious academics. In truth, there is a Professor Evans in every university, even today.

Can you recall a teacher or professor who reminds you of Professor Evans?

Study Struggles and Richard II

An artistic rendition of Sylvia trying not to be noticed while writing this letter

12 October 1956

Sylvia is in the library, struggling to study with a book on Richard II. Rather than continue with the struggle, she has now decided to use the book as a barrier to hide behind while writing a letter back home to her family. She hopes that a professor won't come by and catch her in the act.

She feels particularly intimidated by Dr. Martin, as he is known to embarrass students by forcing them to read their bad essays to the class out loud.

Procrastinating in our studies is a common bad habit for students. Even if we know that the results of such behavior will lead to negative outcomes (like having to read a poorly written essay out loud), we still can't help ourselves sometimes, especially when what we're supposed to be doing is giving us a hard time!

Would you consider yourself a procrastinator? Can you think of a time when you may have procrastinated?

Exam Anxieties

An artistic rendition of Sylvia recieving her marked exam

7 March 1957

Sylvia received the results of one of her exams today. She finds out that she received a 60%, which does not sound too good in her opinion, but the professor informed the class that if it was an important exam, her mark would be 40%. Needless to say, this is concerning for Sylvia.

Worrying about our grades in university is a common occurrence, and one that we can probably all relate to. Can you think of a certain time where an exam or assignment caused you stress because you didn't know how well it would turn out?