Sunday, December 19, 2004

do your time and pay the price for everything you've done wrong, baby

Yesterday I had quite the exam-related adventure, all because I am an idiot who is a very skilled architech of her own demise.

I had a final exam at 2 PM on Canadian government. It was worth 35% of my final mark. I skipped all but one of my twelve tutorial sessions, which was a cheery wave goodbye to the 10% tutorial attendance and participation mark, and have yet to submit my 30% term paper, which may or may not be accepted this late. (I did slaughter the midterm, which makes up the rest of the mark.) I have also been too stupid/lazy/terrified to speak to the instructor.

So one would think that, perhaps, loath to fail the course, I would have been adequately prepared to excel on the final exam. If by "adequately prepared" you mean "slept in until two hours before the exam, when I started studying, despite having had ten free days to start studying before that," then you would be absolutely correct. I also received a rather nasty surprise when I discovered that the final covered not three chapters of the textbook (I have no idea where I even got that number), but six, leaving me with about 170 pages of virgin textbook to absorb in two hours — I had, of course, skipped all but three lectures during the second half of the term.

I grabbed an assortment of pens and pencils, put my student card in my pocket, and jogged to the arena while repeating "Initiation, Priority-Setting, Policy-making, Legitimation, Implementation, Interpretation" in my head. I walked in about five minutes late, which made me feel like a rock star, if by "rock star" you mean "idiot." I couldn't find anywhere to sit, so I had to be assisted by a proctor who didn't seem to like the cut of my jib.

Finally having arrived, I sat down, took off my jacket, put my pens on the desk, and reached into my pocket to retrieve my student card. It wasn't there. It wasn't in the other pocket either, or the back pocket, or my jacket pocket, and I was absolutely sure I'd brought it with me. Fantastic. I'd be paying $25 for writing an exam without school photo ID, and another $25 to replace my student card, meaning that this exam was going to cost me $50, along with whatever remained of my academic dignity and maybe however much it would cost to take the course again.

The exam itself wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either; there was nothing I absolutely didn't know, but a lot of things I only sort of knew. However, the bonus question almost redeemed the entire experience. We had the opportunity to reproduce and write about any of the political cartoons in the assigned textbook chapters.

Now, I was writing my exam next to someone who was writing a PHYS 107 exam. It didn't seem to be going terribly well for her. I gathered this from the violent fits of erasure that took out half-pages of work, shook both of our desks, and peppered everything in her immediate vicinity with eraser shreds. So I don't think she felt any better when she looked over to find that I was drawing a picture of the Canadian Senate which included a house band playing in front of a giant banner with a marijuana leaf reading "LEGALIZE IT!" and lots of stick-figure senators getting down with their bad selves. She was erasing difficult physics calculations gone wrong. I occasionally erased lines in the marijuana leaf so that you couldn't see them through people's heads. It took me about twenty minutes. This was actually part of my exam.

When I left, I retraced my steps to try to find my student card. No dice. I looked all over my room to see if it was there. No dice. Still feeling shell-shocked from the whole experience (it was a lot to go through in my first four-and-a-half hours awake), I ordered a pizza and ate some chocolate. Several hours later, my housemate came home. "Hey, Meghan? You missing your student card?" It had blown down the street from our apartment a little bit and she found it on her way back from volunteering. To conclude Black List style: Strokes of luck, A; suffering the consequences of my own bad decisions, D-. I never learn.

*Sloan, "Everything You've Done Wrong"