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Students Share Red Flags About Their Professors That Made Them Drop A Class Immediately

They didn't even have a chance to get all the way to "RateMyProfessor". Once the students sat down in these classes, they immediately wanted to run away.

u/MildlyAgitatedBidoof asked:

What are some red flags for teachers that scream "drop this class immediately?"

Here were some of those answers.



Over the winter break of my freshman year I was diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease in my knees which meant I had to use crutches for a while (then eventually a wheelchair for a time).

I was late to my philosophy 101 class (due to adjusting to my newfound limitations). I apologized for my tardiness and tried to find my seat without making a fuss.

As I was making my way across the classroom my philosophy teacher remarked "everyone, let's just patiently wait for the cripple here to get to his seat."

It's possible she had believed I was one of several skiing injuries that the student body had incurred over winter break, but either way after that first day I never came back to that class.


Unrelated Information

I had a lecturer that did that but it was compounded by the fact that she would have a whole page of text appear on the page letter by letter, with each letter accompanied by either the typewriter or laser sound effect.

At the end of each slide:

"So you can see by that example that clearly what was required was this:"


Pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew-pew etc for about 2-3 minutes of everyone just waiting for the pew-pew-pew-ing to conclude so the lecture could resume.

Also, for no apparent reason, she interrupted her own lectures about 3 times to inform us that if you take the glass plate out of the microwave you can cram the whole microwave full of hot dogs wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling and they will all cook just fine.

1: No they won't

2: The course was something to do with computers, and was not hot-dog/microwave related.


Plugging Your Own Materials

"These books are required for the class. I wasn't able to get the revision into the bookstore in time, so the only place you can get them is from me directly or from my website. I will warn you, if you don't buy the books you won't get the login information to be able to take the final, which is 90% of your grade."

"Oh, and no, I can't accept financial aid for them, but it's only $250 so it's not a big deal."

Never seen an entire class get up 5 minutes in and leave before.



I had a professor that in hindsight I really should have dropped. It was a Western Civilization History class, and the first day the entirety of the class he spent talking about how he missed his old job teaching in Europe because "American students are more lazy and incapable of getting as high of grades."

Then he showed intro YouTube videos from his personal laptop hooked to a projector and all of the "Recommend" videos all had titles like "grinding with thong", "sexy college babe grinding", etc.

I thought he was just eccentric, but the guy was easily the worst teacher I ever had. He would expect you to totally memorize all the chapters-- he would quiz on material that didn't matter for concepts. (Ie: What was the name of Caesar's second cousin?)

When the information would be found in a huge family tree. The only students in the class with A's were women, and he would grade their quizzes differently and be MUCH more lenient. (The students compared quiz results.)

Someone in class called him out and he said that he was tired of teaching Americans and doesn't get paid enough. (Literally)


GPA Cuts For Their Ego


Back when I started college, I got straight A+s in a class, but when I went to check on my overall grade, I had a B+, found it odd and went to question my teacher about it, he said that he dropped down my grade because the class was a bit of a pain in the ass (he didn't use those exact words, but thats what he meant)

Then I questioned him again about my posture, asking if I did anything wrong, or disturbed class or whatever, he promptly said I didn't and that I was a great student, which made me ask again "Why is grade lower then", he told the same excuse from above, then I asked if he was planning on changing my grade at all, since I had only As, and he promply said he wasn't going to change.

Fast forward a few days, I ended up filing a complaint about him and his method of grading students, and the college made him change my grade. After that he approached me and said something like "Hey u/Phorcyss you didn't have to file a complaint about me, I was gonna fix your grade" yada yada.


Just Barely Passed

I've had teachers that I just simply couldn't understand due to a language barrier and in hindsight I should have dropped immediately. I learned that basically if you can't understand what the teacher is saying, be prepared to teach yourself a lot of the class.

I had an accounting teacher one time who was Chinese and I remember sitting in that class on the first day scratching my head because I had no idea what she was saying. I looked around and a lot of the other people had the same look on their faces.

The next week I showed up to class and what was once a classroom of about 40 people was now about 12. I should have known right there to drop, but I didn't.

I stuck it out and a few weeks go by and it didn't get any better. I got my first test back and completely bombed it. I told myself right then that I was going to have to teach myself the material and that coming to class was pointless.

So I taught myself accounting by using the textbook. Since I didn't go to class I missed all of her pop-quizzes but just told myself I'll make it up on the tests. I only showed up for tests and the final and lo and behold, I passed the class.


Not Thanking You

My main homeroom teacher/English history teacher/etc in middle school constantly returned my homework for 0 credit, unless and until I re-wrote everything to her standards of penmanship. I had wavy cursive, but not illegible writing, and also WTF mrs Eisner??

She once told me, "Someday when you're grown up you'll thank me for this."

And I thought, no I won't, you *ss.

Am now grown up. Still think she was an *ss.

There was this tiny little teacher's aide in my class, Carla. She was really quiet and nice and was just as bullied by the teacher as we were.

Right after college, I was teaching art classes and running field trips at a children's museum. Carla came in as a teacher with her own class of students, and we recognized each other and had a happy minute catching up.

I sort of roundabout brought up Eisner, not wanting to be impolite, and Carla goes "Oh! She was such a b*tch!" Yes, yes she was. Damn that was validating.


Seems Defensive But Ok

A prof who is clearly off his meds.

Over the course of my one month in the class, he was constantly rude and unbelievably condescending to literally everyone.

Example: We were on a section talking about multiple sclerosis and how its signals misfire from the brain. A student said "my cousin has MS and says this is how he was told what was happening. Is that correct?".

Prof gets red in the face and yells "I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR COUSIN WITH MS!" and proceeds to rant about how interrupting him with stupid questions is a waste of his time. He never answered the question.

During the second week, less that half the class showed up (or a noticeable chunk). He yelled at us that DID show up about how disrespectful it was, then said we would have to learn this section on our own and that we would be heavily tested on it, then stormed out of class. There was no participation mark in the class.

Also, he stated at the beginning of the semester that more that 50% of students dropped his course. Our grades consisted of a 40% midterm and a 60% final.

I took the midterm before dropping the class. It was the hardest test i have ever taken in my life. He expected us to answer questions that we hadn't been taught.

When confronted, he said "you should always be applying the course material to future study". Class average on that was 15%. Highest mark was 68%. Next highest was 32%.

He doesn't scale.Want to complain? Talk to the head of the department. SURPRISE! He is head of the department. HotD can only be held for 2 year. He managed to hold it for 4 due to a loophole or something (no department head wanted to upset him probably).

Yes, he had been required by the university to take meds to keep his job. I don't think he ever actually took them.


 Well, Maybe Teach Instead

When I was 18 I took a Beauty Therapy and Science class. One of the units we had was business studies, I had previously sat an A Level in business so I still had notes and books left over.

We didn't have the usual business teacher because she was signed off sick (Cancer I believe) so instead of getting a qualified teacher in, the department bought in a beauty salon manager. Knew nothing about teaching but thought she knew everything about business.

First class we have, she's doing the "Introduce yourself" thing, then she asks "Who in this class is a Leo?" I raise my hand and its only me .... "Oh because in my star signs I ALWAYS clash with Leos. Sorry". Ok so we have a crazy b*tch, the class is sat in a stunned silence as I simply say "Ok cool"

The time comes to write the assignment for the class and me being savvy I used my old business class notes and books and hand it in with the biggest smile on my face.

Results day. Everyone passes with high marks all except me. She has me up in front of my head tutor for "Plagiarism" and "She's clearly copied and pasted all of this from the internet" my head tutor explained that I "has sat a A-level in business so she should know what she's talking about"

My head tutor re-marked my paper and passed it with a high merit. I later told her about what was said, regarding the star signs and how I felt attacked due to some insignificant fact about my birth sign.

Next lesson she announces she's "Leaving due to my teaching methods being questioned and having a complaint" whilst glaring at me, the rest of the class was relieved.

[username deleted]

Segregation And Racism


If they segregate students

I had an American history class where on the first day the teacher told everyone that no one was to sit in the furthest left row of seats.

Those seats were reserved for the what she called idiots. Idiots were people who arrived late for class.

My class before this ended five minutes before this class did and was on the other side of campus. I took the safe route and dropped the class.

This was before the school made it a rule that you had to have ten minutes between classes, and the professor was an adjunct professor.

On an unrelated note I had an English teacher at this same school that thought when someone had a number on the back window of their car, a number the dmv makes you put there due to some issue with your registration, it meant they were bad drivers and essentially on notice.

She thought this because she said she had only ever seen Asian drivers with them. The girl who explained what it actually meant knew because she had had one, and was also Asian.

That last teacher I know for a fact no longer works as a teacher.


Mental Health

I had some issues with my schedule and wasn't registered for a particular course on the first day of class, so I registered and attended on the second day.

He had already paired up the class into groups of 3-4 on day 1 for a project that would span the entire course and count for a large part of our grade.

When I asked if I could be joined into a smaller group he told me no, that I could do the work solo for the semester. I was peeved, but needed that course as a prerequisite for something I needed next semester so I silently fumed.

After week 2 I had "failed" two reports because he just didn't like what I wrote. Not that the reasoning, research, or writing was unsound- he just didn't like the subject so he gave me failing grades.

I dropped the class, took it with another teacher the next semester, and graduated a semester late because of it.

I don't regret it. He was a horrible teacher and I'm sure my mental health would have suffered if I had continued in his class.



"We'll be doing 3 group projects this semester. I will assign the group and it will be the same group for all 3 projects." NOPE.


Call A Doctor

I had a sociology class where during the introductory lecture the professor went on a tangent about how since she has a doctorate if she was ever on a plane and someone asked "is there a doctor on board" she would say she was a doctor.

If you didn't call her "Dr." she would ignore you. She stated that holding a doctorate in sociology should carry the same clout as being an MD.

No disrespect to sociologists or anyone with a PhD but those are not the same things. She went on other rants about how nobody has ever gotten a 4.0 in her class and she was proud of it.

It was the worst class I've ever taken. She was just an insecure nutcase with a PhD on a power trip. I barely passed. Oh and the course text was of course her own book.




Saw a course at my college called "Digital Media and American Culture." Sounds neat, I thought, I'll go to a lecture during the shopping period.

The professor is 10 minutes late, an 80-year-old man, who gets up and literally asks a student in the front to tell him how many Facebook friends she has and then "how many REAL friends do you have?!"

Was flabbergasted when he asked if anyone in the classroom had read "1984" and most of the class raised their hands. He was 100% convinced that millennials never pick up books anymore.

Yeah, no.


Christ. Was the class held on his lawn, and was he late because he had to yell at a cloud?


I once had a professor say "you get 2 absences this semester. More than 2 and you fail. It doesn't matter what the excuse is."

Sorry, with older relatives who were sick and dying... and not being a psychic myself to know whether or not I'd get sick or if I'd forget to set an alarm, or any number of unforeseeable things... that level of rigidity and unwillingness to compromise isn't worth it.


Had a class where we were allowed three absences. I got bronchitis and used them up about mid way through the semester but towards the end of the semester I got a concussion from passing out during an asthma attack and I wasn't allowed to look at screens, read, listen to music, draw, exercise (this included my 1.5mile walk to campus), or think too hard for a week and a half.

When I was able to go back to class, I brought him the paperwork from the hospital but he just told me to "read the syllabus" and wouldn't even look at my medical papers saying that i wasn't allowed to go to class.

My grade went from an A+ to a B-. And the thing was, it was a lecture hall with 200 students so it's not like there was any group participation or anything. And it was a 100 level class mostly for freshman.


I'll Stay In Bed Thanks

Professor was semi-retired. One of his conditions for coming out of full retirement was all his courses had to be done by 9AM so he could still enjoy his day.

No one passed his 7AM advanced calculus classes...


This is where the "office" part of office hours applies.

Doesn't speak clear English and doesn't hold office hours. (This is for a University in USA)

PS: Holding office hours but never being there doesn't help anyone. By appointment only... but having zero availability also doesn't help anyone.


Hey, you were warned.


I had a biology class with a professor who wore a fanny pack and had stains on his shirt. On the first day, he said that the class would require at least 4 hours of studying every day.


The parents of Ja'bari Gray, a baby boy born on New Year's Day in San Antonio, have only been able to hold their son twice in three months––because Ja'bari has no skin.

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A bride is regretting her decision for her sympathy-inviting a woman who was not initially invited to join her bachelorette weekend.

The bride-to-be originally omitted a "friend" from the list because she was a "downer." But this friend refused to be tossed aside and complained to the point where caving was the only option.

Sometimes, going with your gut and hurting someone's feelings is slightly better than ruining your celebratory getaway.

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Collect/PA Real Life

One of the youngest women in the UK to have terminal stage four breast cancer has spoken candidly about her wishes to buy the horse of her dreams and get married in a castle "like a fairy tale princess."

Told in March that the breast cancer she was first diagnosed with in 2016 had returned and was now terminal, having spread to her spine, Vicki Turner, 24, of Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, had just one question: "Am I going to die?"

Collect/PA Real Life

Shockingly, one of only 31 people under 24 to be diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK – accounting for just 0.056 per cent of the 55,000 annual cases across all age groups, according to Cancer Research – Vicki said doctors told her she could survive for anything from three to 30 years.

Facing an uncertain future, rather than cracking under the pressure, the HR auditor, who has had a double mastectomy, set-up a GoFundMe page, which has already smashed the £10,000 target she set to buy and keep a horse, saying: "Horses have always been my therapy.

"I want a male gelding, maybe a warmblood Hanoverian. I'm going to get him settled at the stable, groom him and give him lots of carrots, and then start having lessons and work towards taking him out.

Collect/PA Real Life

"The diagnosis drives me to do things more rapidly. That's why I started my horse fund in March, just after my latest surgery."

She continued: "It's already raised £11,000, which is totally amazing. It makes me feel like I'm being hugged 1,000 times by 1,000 people. It's unbelievable. I truly never expected it to get this far."

But Vicki, whose dream is to marry her compliance engineer fiancé Simon Eastaugh, 25, in 2020 in the magnificent Leeds Castle near Maidstone, Kent, is no stranger to adversity.

She was just three-years-old when she was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor, a type of kidney cancer, affecting about 70 children under the age of five each year in the UK with a 90 per cent survival rate, according to the NHS.

In September 1998 Vicki had a stage three tumor "the size of a grapefruit" removed along with her right kidney, followed by 19 rounds of radiotherapy, 17 rounds of chemotherapy and 15 blood transfusions over the course of a year.

Collect/PA Real Life

Left bald and with a weakened heart, she recalled: "At primary school I was bald as an egg. The kids in my year looked after me, but I remember getting called a boy a lot by older kids, which at that age isn't very fun."

Vicki, whose brother Ali, 21, is a car salesman, had no further dramatic health problems – apart from having her appendix removed at 14 – until she reached 19, when she was put on blood thinners for a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.

This is a blood clot in the dural venous sinuses, which drain blood from the brain, and was diagnosed following a week of severe migraines.

She said: "I was taking the contraceptive pill at the time, which doctors thought might have caused it."

Collect/PA Real Life

"A nurse said to me that I have been unlucky, but I think I've been extremely lucky. I could have died when I had my first cancer, I could have had a stroke when I had my blood clot, but I didn't."

One of the mainstays of Vicki's childhood, through good times and bad, was her love of horses.

She had riding lessons from the age of eight, developing a talent for dressage and winning several competitions as a teenager on a horse called Toby that she rented with a friend.

Then, turning 21 in January 2016, it looked set to be the best year of her life, with her meeting her fiancé in the unlikely setting of her nail technician mum Helen's 'H-themed' fancy dress party, for her 50th birthday, at Hertfordshire's Chipperfield Cricket Club.

Recalling how she was dressed as a Hell's Angel at the 23 July bash, Vicki said: "He plays cricket for that team and was still there with some of his mates getting a bit p****d when we arrived, so they joined the party, although not in fancy dress.

"My mum went over, dressed as Helen of Troy, and interrogated him, asking why he hadn't met me. It was so funny!
"I couldn't have met anyone more perfect for me. He's so positive and he just lifts me up and makes everything fine."

Life was great for the couple until November 2016 when Vicki found a lump in her left breast.

Collect/PA Real Life

She continued: "We were getting ready to go out and I'd just had a shower and I remember watching a video that advised women to check our breasts in the shower.

"When I felt mine, I found a lump. I showed Simon and he told me to talk to my mum, which I did."

When Vicki saw her GP she was given an emergency referral to the St Albans City Hospital breast clinic for a biopsy and mammogram.

Collect/PA Real Life

A few days later on 17 November she was called back to St Albans and given the devastating news that she had Grade 3 breast cancer.

She recalled: "Mum was with me and while I was totally shocked, I think she'd had her suspicions."

She continued: "Still, we both just cried and cried and cried."

On 8 December 2016 she had a double mastectomy, to stop the cancer from spreading to the other breast – a procedure that is only performed on 50 women under 30 a year in the UK, according to the NHS – and reconstructive surgery.

After her operation at north west London's Royal Free Hospital, Vicki – who has no family history of breast cancer – also had six rounds of chemotherapy and was given hormone repression treatment, to "kill anything floating around."

Speaking about her treatment, she said: "Every time I get taken down to surgery I cry.

"I've been having operations since childhood but I never get used to them. I can't quite get the hang of being brave when it comes to going into surgery.

"But the most difficult ordeal was the chemotherapy. It's the hardest thing that I have ever had to endure. You lose your hair and your confidence."

She continued: "I lost the ability to physically do what I wanted. I got tired going up the stairs and while it saves lives it's a massively destructive path to go down in order to save your life."

Before starting her six-month course of chemotherapy in January 2017, Vicki tried, unsuccessfully to harvest her eggs, with a view to having children in the future.

Collect/PA Real Life

She explained: "Initially there was potential for four eggs and then it gradually went down to one and it was a phantom egg. So that's kaput for my eggs."

She added: "To be fair, I was first told this was likely when I was 12, so, for years I have been pondering the other options, like adoption or egg donation."

With her chemo finally over at the end of June, 2017, Vicki started looking to the future. Her hair grew back and she and Simon went traveling.

Vicki said: "We travelled around South East Asia from February to June 2018, going to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and a bit of Western Australia, which was wonderful."

She continued: "Then we worked for a few months and went around Europe from August to October, before going skiing with my family in Bulgaria over New Year."

Collect/PA Real Life

But then during a routine checkup on 20 February 2019 her breast doctor found another lump where the cancer had been before on her left breast and said that looked like scar tissue.

Vicki said: "It grew between the skin and the silicon and saline implant, so I could feel it below the nipple."

Doctors acted quickly and on 25 February Vicki had a biopsy which, on 6 March led to catastrophic news.

She said: "A nurse asked me to come in to the hospital and I thought 'I don't like this'. I asked why and made them tell me on the phone. Something in me wanted to hear it and my first question was 'Am I going to die?'

"I think my breast care nurse just said something to console me."

She continued: "I just didn't think it was my turn to go through it all again. I had thought that it might come back but not until I was 30 or later."

As Vicki and her family prepared for yet another battle, Simon took a step towards making one of her dreams a reality.

She said: "Simon proposed on 19 March. I'm a massive Anne Boleyn fan and he proposed in the chapel of the Tower of London where her body was buried."

But, a day later on 20 March, at a scheduled appointment following a routine CT scan at Watford General Hospital, Vicki was horrified to be told doctors had seen "a speck" on two of her spinal vertebrae.

Collect/PA Real Life

They explained that her breast cancer was now stage four, it had spread and she also had spinal tumors that were inoperable.
Vicki remembers seeing her builder dad, Dave, 55, cry for the first time, when they told him and her brother what had happened.

She said: "I'd never seen Dad cry before, but we're very close and normally pretty good at receiving bad news, so it was a shock."

Giving her anywhere between three and 30 years to live, they said they could not be more precise until they see the results of an MRI scan on 10 April, which she is expecting any day, due to the aggressive nature of breast cancer in young people.

Still, Vicki, who is also waiting for a new treatment plan, went ahead with a lumpectomy on 28 March at St Albans to remove her breast tumor below the nipple on her left breast.

She said: "I'm terrified of what my medical team will say next, to be honest. I said to my oncologist I thought everything would go back to normal but it didn't.

"This cancer will never be out of me now. There's nothing I can do. I eat healthily, I don't smoke, there's literally no reason for me to have been dealt this card."

"I'm most scared of not being around to watch my family grow old."

She added: "And I want to get married and have children, or even see my friends and brother have children and get married. I'd like to look after my parents when they get old too."

But, despite her fears, Vicki – who returned to work a week after her lumpectomy – is still determined to give herself incentives to carry on, the most important of which will be to buy a horse of her own.

She continued: "Being with horses is my escape from the anxiety, fear and sadness of the cancer that lives in me and how it's going to affect my life."

She said: "I even have list of horse names, that's how sad I am! Simon told me to call it Lord Elrond and I thought of Thor, so that's the short list at the moment.

"My dream is becoming a reality and I said to myself 'You can have your dream horse' and it takes away the fear."
To donate to Vicki's horse fund at

The company behind the Assassin’s Creed video games has pledged 500,000 euros (around $564,900 USD) to help restore Notre Dame Cathedral.

French publisher Ubisoft featured a painstaking recreation of the landmark in its 2014 game Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is set in Paris during the French Revolution.

Now, after fire ripped through the 850-year-old building earlier this week, the company is vowing to help with its reconstruction.

“As the smoke clears on the events that unfolded on Monday at the Notre Dame de Paris, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused," Ubisoft said in a statement. "Notre Dame is an integral part of Paris, a city to which we are deeply connected. Seeing the monument in peril like this affected us all. In light of Monday’s events, we will be donating €500k to help with the restoration and reconstruction of the cathedral. We encourage all of you who are interested to donate as well.”

Ubisoft dedicated 14 months of production time – a total of 5,000 hours of work – to recreating the cathedral for Unity.

The interior of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Assassin's Creed Unity

PA Viral

Game players are able to climb up the outside of the building and explore the intricate detail of the interior.

Such is the realism of the rendering there has been speculation the research and analysis could help with the upcoming restoration efforts, though a spokesperson for Ubisoft said the company was “not currently involved”.

“It is important to keep in mind that what we did for the game was not a scientific reconstruction but rather an artistic vision,” the spokesperson said. “While we wanted to be very precise with details, there are some differences in terms of scale and with some elements. That being said, we would be more than happy to lend our expertise in any way that we can to help with these efforts.”

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Assassin's Creed Unity

PA Viral

Unity will be available for free to PC users for the next week in a move Ubisoft says will “give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre Dame”.

“Video games can enable us to explore places in ways we never could have otherwise imagined,” Ubisoft said. “We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”

Also contributing to the efforts to restore the cathedral was Disney, who produced an animated version of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame in 1996. They announced a five million US dollars contribution.

“The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbours in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a five million US dollars donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece,” Disney chairman Robert A Iger said.

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese state media reported the last known female Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle has died.

She was estimated to be over 90 years old.

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TW: Eating Disorder and triggering images.

Breanna Cornell enjoys being suspended by her skin from metal hooks and running 100 mile ultra-marathons, has spoken of the "immense sense of joy and feeling of achievement" provided by her hobbies. Which have helped her combat anorexia and body dysmorphia.

Cornell said both activities involved pushing her body to the limit and, while having sharp objects threaded into her skin was initially uncomfortable, the fear and excitement was also thrilling.

Cornell lives in Coconino County, Arizona – where suspension is illegal, since it is not considered a medical procedure unless it is carried out by a doctor. Nevertheless, Cornell has taken part in the practice 12 times, since being introduced to it by her then boyfriend, two-and-a-half years ago.

"There is certainly a connection for me between long-distance running and suspending that accounts for why I enjoy them both so much," she said. "There is that feeling of fear and adrenaline at the start that then becomes an almost calm-like meditation once you get going, and then the overwhelming feeling of achievement at the end."

Despite the inevitable pain experienced by hook suspension, Cornell insists she is not a masochist, seeing the pastime more as an artistic and emotional expression, while admitting that she does enjoy challenging her body.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

Hook suspension has been practiced by Native Americans for hundreds of years.

"I wouldn't say that I derive my pleasure in suspending – or marathon running for that matter – from the pain, but I would certainly say that I like being able to push my body to its limits, which does involve some amount of pain," Cornell said. "For thousands of years, humans have endured pain as part of daily life, but in the modern world we have been able to live pain free. This seems to me to make us lacking at a genetic level as pain is an essential element of human existence and I, for one, couldn't do without it."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

A long-distance runner since childhood, Cornell completed her first marathon just after leaving school in 2010, but soon set her sights on greater goals than 26.2 miles and in 2012 was competing in ultra-marathons in Africa.

Around the same time she developed a penchant for body modification, having her first tattoo, a wing on her foot, aged 18, followed by a series of piercings on her ears and nose.

"Growing up, I had had a lot of problems with anorexia and body dysmorphia, where you have a very negative perception of your body," Cornell added. "I liked getting piercings and tattoos of drawings that I had made, because it allowed me to look at my body and focus on them instead of the way I looked."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

At this point hook suspending was not yet on her radar, although she was aware of it, but viewed it as "gory and unpleasant."
That changed in April 2016 when she joined her then boyfriend, a suspension enthusiast, at an event.

Watching him being strung up by a professional piercing artist at a studio in Phoenix, Arizona – where suspension is legal – she was fascinated.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"Up until that point, I didn't think it was for me at all. It looked very scary and frankly quite gory," she explained. "But then, as soon as I saw it for myself, I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to do."

She would have to wait another six months, however, before she could be hooked up herself. But in October 2016, she arranged a session with the same piercing artist in Phoenix, costing $100.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"I was really, really nervous beforehand and was sick twice because there was so much adrenaline pumping through me," she said. "I was put in the 'suicide' position, so called because it looks like a person hanging as the hooks are through the skin at the top of your back, and there was a lot of fear to overcome, as I lifted my final toe off the ground, as it feels so unnatural. But once I was up there, suspended five feet off the ground, I had a rush of immense joy and it felt as though I was weightless and floating."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

Staying suspended for half an hour, Cornell knew as soon as she was eventually let down that she would have to do it again – she was, literally, hooked. So, six months later, she returned – this time being rigged up in a 'superman' position, flying forwards with 10 hooks along her back and legs.

Having now been suspended 12 times, or roughly every six months, Cornell says her hobby provides her with an outlet for her emotions.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"My response to each suspension really varies on my mood. If I am happy then I will have a lot of fun and swing around a bit," she explained, adding that she also chooses her position according to her mood. "But if I am feeling a bit stressed then it can be really nice to get into a more static position like the hammock – where you are sitting into the suspension with your knees and shoulders hooked. That way, I can sit comfortably for hours and just relax."

Despite its long history and growing popularity around the world, hook suspension is not without its detractors, some of whom Cornell has encountered.

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell

"I realize that not everyone will understand the appeal. One person I know said it was 'appalling.' But that's why I often try to compare it with marathon running – a much less maligned pastime," she said. "There is just as much pain involved in running long distances, but you don't necessarily do it for that reason – you do it for the satisfaction of having pushed your body. And that, for me, is one of life's greatest joys."

PA REAL LIFE - Breanna Cornell