December 16, 2008

Just Call Me Numbskull

I had an exam today, ENG331, two hours of Renaissance Drama before being officially done school for the winter break. No sweat, really; we'd been given the essay questions in advance, so it was really a question of matching some answers and then writing an essay from a mentally outlined essay prepared in advance.


I got to the exam centre well ahead of time, and sat down to review some notes and wait around until we could begin. After a while I realized that I hadn't spotted any of my classmates the whole time. Kind of unusual, but it was a big place, and so I didn't think too much of it.


Finally it's two o'clock, and we can go into the exam room. I go in -- but where is ENG331? Nowhere in sight; the room is rapidly filling with engineers. I go out. Maybe I'm in the wrong room. Was it 200, or 320? I go up to the next floor, now conscious that I'm bordering on not-on-time. Room 320 is filled with a geography class. 300 and 310 are full on history majors, 330 is religion. No English anywhere.

I go back down to the main lobby. Is it room 100? No: that's another engineering class. I run out of the building: can I spot a payphone? I can't. I go back up to the 300s and try again -- no dice. Back outdoors, and I see a payphone two blocks down. I sprint, phone home, and get my brother to check my exam schedule. Firefox loads and loads and loads. Finally I get confirmation: room 320. Room 320! I run back to the exam centre.

It's now ten past two, at least. I'm late, but I can still get in. Back to room 320 -- but it's still full of geographers. I ask the supervising prof if he knows where my exam is. He doesn't, but suggests I try 310. I am referred to 310's supervising TA, who has a full exam schedule. He finds ENG331:  room 320.


Of course it is.

But it didn't turn out too badly, for all that (true, it's the stuff of bad pre-exam dreams, but I found out that I had the wrong day before my exam took place, rather than after -- a blessing, that). After stumbling out of 310 and taking a few minutes to get my breathing back under control and not cry, I took myself to a nearby library, one to which I'd never been.

My friends, the library was lovely! Head and shoulders above my local library, to be sure, and close enough to campus that I can probably frequent it fairly easily. There's a huge science fiction & fantasy collection there, as well as a more than respectable children's lit section, and it's all air and light. I picked up a copy of Scalzi's Old Man's War, which also is delighful.

But I'm not reading it right now. I have an exam tomorrow, you know.


Kerry D. said...

Sending you lots of sympathetic thoughts.

That's the kind of thing I can still have nightmares about and I graduated in 1991!

So glad you were a day ahead of yourself and not a day behind.

Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said...

o my goodness.. you must be stressed out about exams. Good luck!

Joel D said...

"Room 320? Okay thanks bye!" *click*

Didn't occur to me to check the date, but I wouldn't have been able to tell you if I had :p

Katherine said...

This is one of the things I don't miss about school! (loved the reading, writing, and research, but not the exams). Luckily, the college I went to had self-scheduled exams, so we could take them on our own time, in any one of the set exam rooms, in any order we wanted to, during exam week (we had a very strong honor code).

Fyrefly said...

That's very, very good that you figured it out the day before, not the day after... and I guess also good that you didn't book a plane ticket home immediately following your exam. Good luck with your finals!

Jessica said...

Auggh!! I'm having sympathy stress for you right now. I used to have panicky dreams before exams. I'm so glad that you have one extra day to study. Good luck tomorrow.

raych said...

This is my biggest fear in life. I wrote my last exam this morning. I was actually short of breath reading this thing. ACK!

glumpuddle said...

what's the new 'exam centre' like?
And you are right about that library. It is nice.

Christine said...

glum -- the exam centre is giant and sterile and has very comfortable chairs. But I really wonder what happens in it the other 10 months of the year.

Serena -- I wasn't, until then! And now I'm not anymore, having successfully written the exam on Wed. Yay for finishing.

Katherine -- holy cow! Your college sounds amazing.

Melanie said...

I am so glad you found out the day before, not after! I did the same kind of thing in university, long ago, but I only figured out that my exam was actually in progress one hour after it began. I wrote a 3 hr exam in an hour and a half... the mark was my lowest ever but at least I passed the class!!

Ania said...

And hey, you had more time to study ;)

An acquaintance of mine, who obviously did not understand the idea of 24-hour time, thought his exam time of 13:00 meant 3 o'clock. It was a two hour exam. Ouch!

Beth Hunter said...

I wanted you to know that I did check out the site and this was a very sad story...with a happy ending. Which library did you discover? I am looking for a book called Nickle and Dimed. My American sister recommended it and I can't seem to locate it in the Toronto library. When I lived in Eastern Ontario I could order just about anything it seemed. Is there some other "library" where I might be able to track down this book?

Also I can't believe you read all those books in a month. Do you sleep?