Friday, June 15, 2012

What June 15th Means To Me: Finals

This time of year always reminds me of "cram week," or whatever term your region had for those days before final exams.  It feels like it's been a while since I last took a test, even in college the majority of my "finals" were just glorified papers, but I'll never forget the last final I actually did take.

To say I was awful at chemistry was an understatement, but it was a required class in the core curriculum at my college.  Not only was I terrible with anything math related, it was the first time I had to exercise that part of my brain since high school ... and let's just say I was a little rusty.  Also, because I was such a diligent student, I found it hard to care about something that didn't make a ton of sense to me. So, I did what I usually did when I didn't care about something: punted trying and copied my friend's homework. So, when it came time to take the intimidating final, I was in a bit over my head. 

You know that anxiety dream where you show up to your final and realize you hadn't attended class all year?  That was more or less me. A week or so before the test, I attended a private help session with the professor who already disliked me because I wrote some stupid op-ed in the school newspaper about how dumb the science requirement was for English majors (I actually stand by that, but regardless, this woman was in no rush to rescue me.)  She asked what I needed help with, but wasn't amused by my "everything" answer.  After 30 minutes of her explaining some basic concepts, and me doing this ...

 ... she "politely" kicked me out of her office with a half-assed well wish and the delight that her test would eviscerate me.

But, despite the setbacks and my own retardation, I made it my mission to pass the test.  I filled the coffee pot, cracked open the book, and made sense out of the formulas and numbers that once hadn't.  I enlisted the help of several friends to guide me through the chem maze until I could somewhat speak the language.  After a week of some of the hardest studying of my entire life, I felt PREPARED.  I was gonna go all...

...on that chem test.  And while I sat there in the lecture hall, flipping through the pages of the exam, I actually felt confident.  The questions might not have been easy, but they looked familiar, and I felt prepared enough to guide myself through them.  After two hours, I completed the exam with the sensation that I'd actually done OK.  In fact, I walked out of the building with this enormous sense of accomplishment, and probably raised my fists to the sky in triumph. Maybe the rumors were true after all; I was capable of anything...just like all that bullshit my Mom and Zack Morris said all those years.

For some reason, our grades weren't written on our tests, and instead were told to us by the science secretary; a person I didn't even know existed until that fateful walk to get my grade.  I must admit I was pretty nervous when it was my turn to hear the results, but as said, I was pretty damn confident I did well.  I gave her my name, she scanned her list and said ...

" got a 76."  A WHAT????

Birds sang. 

Angels grew wings.   I'd done the impossible.  The nice secretary let me bask in my glory for a minute with my friend Jenny. She could tell it was quite a moment for me.  But once I quieted down, she smiled and continued...

"Out of 200."

I did pass the class, though. Thank God for Bell Curves.  And the fact I'll probably never have to take a test again. 


  1. Just finished reading My Sweet Saga. Loved it!

    I think it would be an awesome movie!

  2. Thank ya, Patricia! I hope it gets the chance to be a movie. Really glad you enjoyed, thanks for the kind words.

  3. i will never forget this moment. i have no idea what grade *I* got on this test but i assume it was in the same region?