24 June 2009

[Imported] I probably won't be able to get a job one day because of this post

I had my first final exam of the semester today, and there’s no two ways about it – I blew it. It was my history final, complete with TWO essay questions, neither of which I knew the answer. It’s my own fault – no sense in beating around the bush on this one – but I did try. Initially, at least. But I had barely made it to page 3 of my 60+ pages of notes before, well...before I had a teensy tiny little mental collapse where I had an hour-long sob fest in the bathtub over the shambles my life is in, and after I drained the water I still laid therefor about another half hour, holed up in the fetal position, soaked and pruned to the bone, unwilling to get up and look at my notes again because studying? I was certain it would kill me.

I live for the melodramatic. Thank you for putting up with me.

On my last test in my history class, I had a similar meltdown, though on a much smaller scale; and when I realized that none of the information was sticking, I decided that I had one of two options: fail or cheat. And after many more failed attempts at testing myself on the information, I ended up sadly sweeping my morals and values under the rug for the time being and choosing the latter. I wrote down almost all of the information I was thought I ’d need on the test (I actually just chose one section of the notes and crossed my fingers that that would be the part the essay question would be about, so there still was no guarantee that this was gonna do me any good) in my Blue Book (which is a 12ish page-long notebook that we buy AHEAD of time in which we take our test, and if that doesn’t scream “CHEAT!! WRITE STUFF DOWN IN HERE AND CHEEEEAAAAT!!!!” I don’t know what does), and yes it was wrong. I know that, so don’t bother with the lecture. I’ll have to answer to that to the Big Man Upstairs one day, but I’ll cross that fiery bridge when I get there. So. Armed with all the answers the day of the exam, I wrote my essay with grace, flourish, and – of course – accuracy; and in the end, the combination of my failed attempts at studying and my not-so-honest method of "memorizing" the information resulted in the lovely grade of a C-.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an English class, and so he’s not critiquing my grammar or writing abilities. It’s all about accuracy, and since I had used the notes that HE HAD TYPED OUT FOR US as my source, my only question is WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I MISSING? Nothing, as far as I could tell, and the only theory I have to explain my less than perfect grade considering the perfection of the information I used is karma.

Nevertheless, I can only imagine that had I not done what I did, there wouldn’t be a letter in the alphabet low enough to match the grade I'd have earned. I hate that my level of moral hypocrisy is at an all time high right now in admitting this, especially after reading this article and realizing that I could no longer put myself in 36 percentile of students who DON’T cheat. But it is what it is. Also, that therapist that I saw for a day a couple of months ago had responded with, “Perhaps that is the problem,” when I told her I never was much of a rule breaker and had never been in any sort of serious trouble before. And while I never once doubted the TERRIBLE-NESS of that advice since the moment I heard it, I’m still just going to go ahead and blame her for me questioning and thus compromising my own ethical compass.

Anydangway, back to today’s exam. I really didn’t have much hope, because there are no other grades in this class except for the tests. With the vast eternity of schooling I have ahead of me, despite the same vast eternity of schooling I have behind me, I was getting a bit overwhelmed with it all, especially considering that this is my third (count them – first, second, THIRD) attempt at a history class. I dropped the first two on the last possible days I could in their respective semesters when it was obvious that I simply was not going to pass, but I couldn’t do that this semester since it would have dropped me down to part-time and I would have lost my financial aid. And this was my third very different time period of history I had tried (first Medieval History, then early 20th Century History, and now this – Ancient History). But I think it was last night sometime in my shivering moments of being naked and damp in a dry tub that I just gave up on the exam before I even started it. I just accepted that I was going to fail the exam, and OH. THE. RELIEF. when I stopped caring. Don’t judge me, people (I at least vowed to take the high road an not cheat this time. Last thing I needed was to start a habit) - my mental stability was at stake here. Sure there was a tiny twinge of guilt and remorse over being a COMPLETE FAILURE, but I’ve become an expert on ignoring that feeling ever since I quit majoring in music. So I went in today, answered the couple of multiple choice questions that count for all of about 2% of the exam, and for the first essay, I took the four questions posed within the overall essay question and answered them all in short, complete sentences (and those were mostly guesses too, seeing as how I barely understood the questions to begin with), and for the second essay – the one that I was COMPLETELY clueless about – I wrote a short explanation on why I had chosen to not bother. I think I used phrases like "nervous breakdown," "sorry for being a total failure," and "never going to graduate, oh well." I was done in a grand total of 6 minutes and 27 seconds, but since I had three hours to complete the exam - and since I didn’t want to get up and leave, making it painfully obvious that I didn’t actually write anything down worth grading - I sat there and doodled on my second Blue Book which had been predestined to remain blank inside anyway.

Here’s my lovely artwork:

Yes, I have tiny writing. My teachers hate it.

As you can see, I spent most of my time drawing tetris pieces, though only the five on the left are the ones used in the game. I don’t know if you ever noticed, but the pieces represent all ways four (you know, tetra- tetris...see it?) squares can be arranged so that each square is touching at least one full side of another square (not including mirror images). I then went on to figure out all the possibilities of five squares (there are 12), and then I proceeded to do all 6 square combinations. I believe there are 36 possibilities with that, but shortly after becoming stuck at 34, someone else stood up and turned in their exam after finally finishing, at which point I figured it was safe for me to do so as well. Anyway, if anyone wants to try to figure out which two pieces I’m missing (as well as double check my work to make sure that 1) I don’t have any rotations/mirror images and 2) there actually are 36 pieces), you’re more than welcome to do so. You'll notice I started out with a system in moving the squares one at a time, but I’m notorious for getting bored with “systems” and wanting to jump ahead to whatever else pops in my mind (could explain how often I interject random thoughts and explanations in these handy-dandy little parenthetical asides, eh?), so that could have been my downfall in not finishing.

Anyway, I only have two exams left, neither of which I’m as worried about as I was about my history exam, though I’ll admit right now that my grades have suffered all-around this semester, so I doubt that F will be nothing more than a statistical blip in a sea of As. No, I’m expecting something resembling the actual first measure of lyrics to the Alphabet song.

And speaking of songs, because I’m just so gosh-darn giving, I'm going to painstakingly upload an entire CD’s worth of Christmas tunes one by one for all of you to "enjoy." I put "enjoy" in quotes like that because I made burned a CD of Christmas music that contained mostly the same songs for a friend, and he pretty much admitted to skipping over 90% of the songs within the first 10 seconds of each one starting. I guess the Muppets/country/brass quartet/1940s compilation isn’t for everyone. Oooo, I bet you can't wait now that I've spoiled the surprise now, can you?

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