An Illustrated Guide to Finals Week ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

An Illustrated Guide to Finals Week

About two weeks ago I described a disastrous episode in my ongoing quest for academic decency. I’ve been reluctant to bring it up again for fear of what may happen tomorrow, when I tackle the course’s final exam. If the final treats me badly, I’ll wish I hadn’t written this post and will never mention it again.

On the other hand, if I somehow get the better of the exam, my satisfaction will be enhanced by having written this beforehand. No doubt I’d even feel tempted to revisit this topic and add a triumphant end note. Predictive posting is a mixed bag.

Ridiculously enough, my two finals are scheduled back-to-back tomorrow morning. I’ve been studying the at-risk course slavishly, while trying to assure that I’ll be competent in the second final as well. Bi-directional cramming is a mixed bag.

I don’t normally study 5+ hours for exams, but the depth and breadth of my at-risk topic is forcing my study time into double-digit hours. Re-reading and summarizing notes, re-reading and highlighting textbooks and source material, practicing the spontaneous recreation of names, trends and facts…all this requires protracted concentration. And all good students and writers know the key to protracted concentration: coffee. Like Annie Dillard says,

I drank coffee in titrated doses. It was a tricky business, requiring the finely tuned judgment of a skilled anesthesiologist. There was a tiny range within which coffee was effective, short of which it was useless, and beyond which, fatal.

And indeed, the unguarded consumption of coffee is a risky scheme which can easily be short-circuited. My medical precision is improving, but study sessions are still occasionally cut short by fatal doses, requiring immediate analgesic aid. Caffeine-fueled endurance is a mixed bag.

Come to think of it, this whole week has been strange, four straight days of scrambled baggage. I feel morbidly knowledgeable. My short term memory is smoldering like Mount Vesuvius. Supposedly it will all blow over tomorrow morning.

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pepperdeaf said...

it is nice to see that someone else is taking a study break in the world of blogs.

your stack of books looks eerily like mine. enjoy the journey.

sheryl said...

all the best man... im slogging off over me exams as well.
the life of a student, incomparable.
well... relatively.

Oneway said...

Strength and honor.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife