This past year and a half has been hectic for us all. For me personally, it forced me to take online classes. Sure, I can sleep later, but most of the time they lack the enriching class discussions I came to enjoy. After the first semester online, the one where everything hit the fan, a few professors began soldiering on, offering only in-person classes or hybrid classes. The first class I attended in-person: Italian.
Still, Zoom meetings and online postings were like opening up Pandora’s box.
Now, a professor could cancel class if it snows, but why not just meet on Zoom? I commute and needing to worry about a few in-person classes in my schedule felt stressful. It was often easier if the in-person classes were on the same day, and I could get it done in one fell swoop.
As more classes were back on campus, I found myself with a day of only in-person classes. So, I headed to my one hybrid English class (he streamed his classes to WebEx), immediately followed by a political science class. Political science, according to the syllabus, got conducted entirely in-person. Both classes were engaging, and I felt like I learned the material a lot better in-person. Assignments were submitted digitally for English, which felt expected. However, for political science, I found myself at the university printing room biweekly. As the semester progressed, exams were generally normal. For my English final, I wrote a twelve-page paper on rhetoric, and political science involved a paper and a proctored exam.
I studied like the only other option was to curl up into a ball and die.
To be honest, that meant a lot of coffee and long nights. I swear to God, I studied flashcards as if they held the key to immortality. I even picked up a book on mnemonics and memory techniques. I kept telling myself “it will pay off.”
The night before my final I made sure to get enough sleep, eat a generous amount of food and study some more. The day of the final, I felt great. I ate a nice breakfast, drank some more coffee and left myself plenty of time to commute to campus. In order to relieve stress, I admit I sang along to music. So, if you can imagine it, there I was, leaving my house in my red CRV, singing along to U2. This singing distracted me enough to make me forget to check my email before I left.
As a good rule of thumb, I ALWAYS check my email before beginning the hour drive to campus in case class got cancelled.
I was driving on the Northern State Parkway and making great time. When I pulled onto the side street I park on, because I refuse to be robbed of a hundred dollars for a “parking pass,” I texted my mom that I was there, checked my grades and then my email. What I saw made me do a double-take, and I instantly felt nauseous. It was an email from my professor saying she could not make it to campus today for the final, and that it would be administered online, sent roughly 10 minutes before I left. It started at 10:00 a.m., with only until noon to finish. But I didn’t have my laptop.
I immediately put the car into drive and sped onto the Grand Central Parkway home.
By the time I got home it was about 11:20 a.m. and with forty minutes, I needed to complete an entire multiple-choice section and four essay questions. It was at this point that my brain entered a state of pure efficiency and I was speeding through the multiple choice and writing the bare minimum for each essay question. Literally, I wrote the answer surrounded by some filler words. I wish this wasn’t true, but I submitted the entire exam at 11:59 a.m. My heart felt like it tumbled down a flight of stairs and I did what any college student would do: I took a nap. Somehow, I ended up not doing that bad on the final exam and got an A.
To any college student: participate actively in a class so that it’s a definite factor for the professor when grading. But the utmost advice I could give any student anywhere, is to always assure your access to a computer, and to ALWAYS check your email.