Note: This post has been edited. I shouldn’t be allowed to both blog and watch The Rachel Zoe Project.
I survived the end of the second half of the summer semester (even though I was sure that I wouldn’t), and so I will tell the abridged story of the disaster that was.
I had very high hopes for said semester: I was going to knock out another class, I was going to maintain a great GP; everything was going to be gravy. Problem was, the class was crammed chock-full and the professor was not exactly what the doctor ordered.
This class would have been fine as a 12-week course, or as an online course. But it was a 6-week course and the professor would not vary from the PowerPoint slides that the publishers of the text book had issued. I tried to be a good sport about it – I really did – but six hours a week for six weeks and I was dying. TFLN and I became very good friends.
The worst part came at the mid-term after spending 8 hours working on the take-home exam to come back with less than 50%. I had never done that poorly on an exam in the history of my educational career. And to make it worse, when we asked collectively to go over the exam, we were met with, “I made them ambiguous on purpose.” or “It’s obvious that the answer is ‘A’.” Well, if it had been obvious, I would have answered that way. So yeah, thanks for that.
I get it that a take-home exam has to be a little more difficult than a typical sit-in exam, but seriously? Making a test so hard that half of your class fails is simply absurd. It does not prove that we didn’t learn the material, it proves that we weren’t paranoid enough about answering your ambiguous material.
Normally, I wouldn’t have tried to kill myself over this, but educational reimbursement from my employer makes it mandatory to get a passing (C) grade in a course. I did not think I was going to make it, seriously. I was losing my damn mind – oh, there was going to be a letter campaign, and meetings with department heads, and my personal mission was to get this adjunct booted.
My letter-writing campaign didn’t get off the ground: there isn’t a whole lot of grassroots activism that can be fit into three weeks. Instead, I focused my frenetic energy into busting my ass and spending four days (including one personal day taken off of work) working on the final take-home exam.
In the end, my exam consisted of the finished (polished) copy of the exam, the scratch sheets, the makeup question from the mid-term and homework. My stack required a binder clip, and I almost couldn’t slide it under the adjunct’s office door.
I went from less than 50% at the semester half to an 85% and a B. I made it.
By the skin of my teeth; but I made it.