It's exam time. For some students it is a time for the established routines of the semester to bear fruit. For others it is a time for the bad habits of the semester to wreak havoc.
Where, you might ask, does your poster fit in that narrow universe? Somewhere in between, of course.
Every semester begins with a solemn vow to stay ahead in the reading and to start all projects as soon as possible, always be prepared, and get plenty of rest. Each semester the vow is broken. If I was Catholic I would go to confession and beg God's forgiveness for my sins. Since I'm not, you will hear my confession. Be merciful.
As an example of my weakness, let me tell you about my finance class. Long time readers know that I prefer to take classes, where I have a choice, from professors that are considered difficult. Well, this time I bit off more than I could chew. This professor is universally acclaimed as the best professor of finance at my school. Not because of her good looks, or winsome personality, but because of the extreme demands she places on her students. She is, I might say, a sharp taste of the real world that exists in the immediate future for most students. Let me cite two examples.
All of her tests and quizzes are given over two class periods. That's right, two class periods. It takes a week to complete a quiz! Her logic is that testing requires a comprehensive evaluation of the student's knowledge of the subject, and that a mere 75 minutes is not enough to complete that assessment. Fair enough, you say, but consider that the semester includes about 29 classes. Two exams and two quizzes require 8 days of testing which works out to be about 28% of classroom time. Whoa, bro’…that’s a lot of time spent testing our understanding. But it gets even better because the professor likes to add real world elements to her questions; the real world tends to produce answers that wildly diverge from the safety of the textbook solutions. So you study, do all of the problems at the end of the chapter, memorize the formulae (no cheat sheets in this class!), work the problem, only to get an answer that runs so counter to the solutions of the textbook that it destroys your confidence in the solution.
If that is not enough, on the day of tests/quizzes, she offers help/extra credit sessions at 6AM. That's right, you can get extra credit if you attend the sessions that start before dawn. There is no credit for late arrivals. Be there on time or don’t come at all. Scarily like real life. Of course, this academic version of boot camp is optional, but believe me when I tell you that the vast majority of students need any extra credit points offered.
Then, early in the semester, she dropped an atom bomb; an in-depth analysis of the new bankruptcy law (BAPCA) and ethics relevant to a fictional family whose financial situation has deteriorated during the recent recession. Twenty five pages, thank you, with supporting data in the form of citations and spreadsheet analysis.
You know the result of all this. The stress level created was really extraordinary. I hadn’t felt this much stress since the last time my BIG boss in my former life visited my location for a thorough critique of our operational shortfalls. As you might imagine, this class sucked up a LOT of time ordinarily available for things like other classes, exercise, and life.
So it should not surprise anyone that I “lagged” a bit in my preparation for the final. That lag time brutalized my routine and destroyed any dreams I might have had about an orderly, programmed schedule for review and preparation. The first part of the routine destroyed. The day before the exam found your scribe cramming, reading, doing problems, and generally fretting as the time for the exam inexorably drew closer and closer. As the night before edged ever closer to the day of, it became clear that I would not sleep in our wedding bed; no, I would stay up late and sleep for a few hours before arising very early. That way I would not disturb my sleeping bride and incur further wrath. The second part of the routine destroyed. And even though the exam was schedule for 8 AM, there was, of course, the extra credit session at 6 AM…which deprived me of 2 hours of much needed recuperation. So I was exhausted at exam time. Third part of the routine destroyed.
How did I do? Probably okay, and I’ll probably get a reasonable grade. Did I learn anything? I learned more about finance in this class than I could possibly have imagined. Unbelievable.
Will I take her for another class? Count on it.