Hopkins student Alexis Criminy had a humanizing experience with her Orgo TA recently, and the experience can be characterized as nothing less than haunting. Criminy is just one of a multitude of students who have been horrified to learn that their TAs were once young and full of hope just like them. Said Criminy of her teaching assistant:
“Normally he seems to revel in striking off points, but yesterday, in the middle of drawing a molecule on the chalkboard, he actually broke down in front of me. Starting sobbing while talking about chirality. That’s some heavy shit that I did not need on a midterm week.”
Criminy’s experience isn’t uncommon, as many undergraduates at Hopkins experience a similar crisis when their TAs mention their outside lives. Sophomore Mandeep Crown got a taste of the realization earlier than most.
“My physics TA started talking about his sister and the car payment on his Jetta before running out of the room. I never realized he was, you know, a person. I wanted to follow him, but my problem set was due in like literally an hour.”
We reached out to a variety of departments for comments from TAs, but most replied that they were either too busy grading or chain-smoking less than 25 feet from Gilman. Criminy confessed to the Black and Blue Jay that she’s turned to drinking to help cope with her existential crisis.
“Normally a TA’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. But I saw a twinkle, man. And it fucking terrified me.”