Pass or Fail

Way back in the dawn of time, when I was just starting out as a design student, we had a really, really fun class where we did a lot of line ruling the old fashioned way. The really old fashioned way. With a ruling pen, much like the one below.


I HATE ruling pens. Really. They might be good for making really cool calligraphy strokes, but they are a total paint in the ass for drawing a bunch of interconnected lines in uniform height and width. My first art director couldn’t figure out why were weren’t just using tech pens for everything.

Anyways, in the class we were in, I believe a pass was 70%. That’s right. Seventy percent. And the first assignment we had, the prof went over everybody’s little drawings together in class. Quite the humbling experience for everyone. I only got a 60%. So no pass. Or so I thought. When the prof was going over everything with us, he was kind enough to give us tips as to what we could have done to improve our work. He then went over to the students who were close to a pass to explain that for this first assignment we could make the suggestions he made in class and turn it back in to get remarked to improve our grade. This seemed like a no-brainer to me.

Say it with me now, “It’s a trap!”

The next week, we got our assignments back. Only this time with a 40% on it. Now it was a fail no matter how you sliced it. I wasn’t the only one. A bunch of us approach the teacher and asked what gives. His reply? After the advise he gave he marked it harder than before.

I was usually pretty good at school. I liked most of my teachers. Generally got a long with everyone. Mostly. This was the first time I think I ever saw a teacher as a potential adversary. It was quite jarring. I’m pretty sure it was meant as a warning to any and all to not get too pushy about trying to argue about our marks. It worked.