how to deal with a difficult classmate

  1. I am a first year student in the ADN program. I am generally a friendly person and I get along pretty well with everyone with the exception of one person. I've posted before about the situation but it seems to have progressively gotten worst since August to the point of being ridiculous!
    I decided months ago to limit my interactions with her. She is loud, obnoxious and only offers negative comments concerning anything that I say. I'm going to skip all the filler and start with recent events. A couple of weeks ago she became combative because I didn't greet her when I came into class. She was all in my face about how she didn't know what my problem was and that I was funny acting and all this other nonsense about how I talk to the girl that sits beside me but I don't say anything to her. Yesterday, I guess she became offended again because I didn't say good morning when she came into class (late) and also because I went to retrieve my purse from my car and walked with someone else to the commissary building instead of waiting around for her. Today, I went to check my instructors mailbox for my careplan and walked to the commissary building alone. On the way back, I ended up walking infront of her and the girl that sits beside me (also our lab partner). While I walking she's behind me saying over and over again "I don't know what your problem is. You're trying to come between the group and you wouldn't even know (our other lab partner) if it wasn't for me. You putting her (our other lab partner) in the middle and black women should stick together but you act like you have a problem and look at those white girls and they stick together and they're laughing at us because of the way you act." I mean, verbatim, this is what was said. So I replied, "I don't have a problem and I'm not coming between anyone." I continued walking to the classroom and when class was dismissed I left.
    I have tried ignoring the situation for weeks and it seems to only becoming worst and I'm at the point where I don't know what to do. When I don't say anything to her she has a problem and when I do speak she has a problem with what I say. I don't think she likes me and that's fine because I'm not attending college to make friends but I'm tired to dealing with this drama. Someone please help!
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   moongirl
    move far away from her in class. Tell her " i am sorry you feel that way about me, I dont know what you are talking about, and maybe its just better that we stay away from each other"
    good luck- she sounds like a psycho
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    I think you need to report this to the Director immediately. Not the Instructor...the DIRECTOR. When people start making racial remarks, that is 100% uncalled for. It doesn't matter if EVERYTHING she said was true, and EVERYTHING she felt was justified, it doesn't make a racial remark appropriate.

    It is hostile, aggrevated, and if she is following you around like that, making remarks, I can guarantee you, she is capable of assault.

    I actually thought I was going to read, where you said you checked your instructor's box for your careplan...this is another reason why you need to bring this up to the director, so it can be documented....that your care plan disappeared. Carry around a tape recorder with you (even if you don't tape your lectures). Turn it on right before you enter class and a few minutes before you leave. After you talk to the Director, if your Instructor has a habit of students "dropping things off", make sure you can physically hand it to the department receptionist or slide under her door before things start mysteriously disappearing.

    If you can move your seat, sit BEHIND her in class...not directly, just anywhere behind her. That will make it very difficult for her to sit, stare, and watch your every move, b/c she is obviously a fruitloop. I also fear she may do something serious, make up a lie, and say she saw you cheating. If you are sitting behind her, it would make that viewpoint impossible.

    Please do this immediately before something happens more serious. I am fearing that if she does lose her temper and there isn't a record of this, and she physically attacks you, it could put your place in the program at risk.
    Last edit by BSNtobe2009 on Nov 30, '06
  5. by   shining_star28463
    I believe that she is capable of physical assault as well. Another student that was in her pre-req Bio class said that she tried to fight a student and that the Bio instructor had to restrain her.
    I thought that the easiest way to avoid conflict with her was to avoid her but obviously she is seeking out conflict with me. It is very high-schoolish and she is beyond fruit loopy crazy. When I spoke to my husband about it he told me to just ignore her which is what I've been trying to do but ignoring her seems to make her more volatile.
    Our class is packed to capacity so I'm not sure if I would be allowed to move to another seat and it is very uncomfortable for me to sit beside her. Today, after her rant I found it difficult to even focus on what the instructor was saying because I kept thinking "okay, what is she going to do next--follow me to my car and try to fight me?" It's pretty crazy and out of control. I've never been in a situation like this before. I know I should speak with the DON but I don't know if speaking with the DON will make the situation worst.
  6. by   cherokeesummer
    Wow, I remember reading about this in the past, I think this is the same situation anyway.

    I agree with the above in that it seems she is fruit loopy. I would suggest definately speaking to someone about it - just if for anything than to have it documented or to have a chance to move in class.

    Nursing school is hard enough without drama!
  7. by   michar
    Female bullying. It sucks.

    Report it to the DON, it's not ok you shouldn't have to deal with it on your own. Someone (DON) needs to be aware of what's going on, especially if things get worse.
  8. by   heather2084
    In my classes we used to have someone who was always late, required special circumstances for her, lied about getting bad test grades to get sympathy from others, then ended up making the dean's list, was always asking favors of everyone in the class, and always asked redundant questions that had just been answered. I know this isn't the same as your situation, but we all started to ignore her, even the nicest girl in the class. One semester our clinical groups went to these little therapy sessions, and the one she was in they ended up confronting her about their frustrations. If she didn't know how everyone felt about her before, then she blatantly knew then. Was it the right way to handle things, who knows. Ignoring worked the best, especially when she figured out no one was willing to help her with anything.
  9. by   BSNtobe2009
    If you report it to the Director, she is breaking the LAW by not telling the instructor to allow you to move.

    You have the right to be educated in a safe environment without fear, and even on a college level, they have a legal responsibility to provide that to you. College is a privilege, not a right, and colleges have broader authority to give little Miss Priss a talking to to shut up or she can be dismissed and have that on her permanent academic record.

    The only reason that I am advocating sidestepping the instructor, is if you tell your instructor, she needs to go straight to the Director IMMEDIATELY. She doesn't even need to take a side-step into the bathroom on her way and there is no guarantee she will do that. It's just human nature to not think things is as serious as you know they are.

    If she is your lab partner, you need another one, and I promise you, the Director should help make that happen for you, and if it is inconvenient to the instructor, then that's just too bad.

    This girl is the type of bully that ignoring doesn't work on. She is not only seeking attention, she will DEMAND it from you. It's the process of intimidation, and no so much your reaction, and 'performing for an audience" that she most values. These bullies are the most dangerous. Start documenting it also in case you need to file a charge with the Student Judicial Board at your school.
    Last edit by BSNtobe2009 on Dec 1, '06
  10. by   UM Review RN
    If you're concerned for your safety, it might be a situation where the police might need to be involved somehow.
  11. by   EmerNurse
    That's what I was thinking, Angie! This is harassment and it's illegal. The school should be involved, and, (to the (OP) if you are fearing for your safety whlie at school, then security and the police should be involved. I know my school had security that would escort you to your car if you asked them. Might want to consider it. This lady is dangerous. Good grief, she's going to be a NURSE? Just what we need...
  12. by   dorselm
    I would explain the issue with the director and ask if a meeting with the Director, the girl and you can be arranged. If you all meet, I would let that girl know that you are there to get an education, not to be forced to socialize with people you don't want to. I would let her know that the comments she makes are offensive and that they are interfering with your education. I would also let the director know that you do not feel safe around her given the history of abuse that she has and then ask if you can switch partners. I don't care how packed that class is, your director should be able to switch the seats. Lastly, I would let the girl know that if the harrassment continues that you are going to file a police report. This is ridiculous and should not be happening. Let me tell you, when I get to nursing school (Spr '07, graduate 09), I am not going to be there to make friends with anyone. I'm not going to be frigid but I'm not going to be trying to be palsy walsy with anyone. You know what, with an attitude like that girl's, I would not want someone like that in my nursing school, how will she treat the patients if she can't even respect her fellow classmates?!?!?

    I'm going to be praying for you. In the meantime, I don't care if she does try to fight you, you better stand your ground and let her know that you are not going to be bullied. Alot of times, people back down when they see that you are not afraid. I don't care how loud and ignorant she gets, you let her know as a Black Woman, the way she is acting is not representing a true Black Woman. A true Black Woman has class and is respectful of not only herself but all whom she comes in contact with and does not need others to define her. She is not loud or audacious and does not need to intimidate others to accept her. Keep your head up and stand your ground from one beautiful Black Woman to another.
  13. by   augigi
    I would NOT confront her in the meeting. It's not your job to sort it out. Hand it higher up, and document your concerns in writing.
  14. by   dorselm
    Yeah, maybe confronting her in may not be the best route. Augigi has a good point.

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