Faring my recent exams

So last time I posted (last Wednesday), I felt ill after my Microbiology Lab Practical. I’d stayed up all night studying for it, was exhausted, and dreaded my results. I received my results shortly before Chemistry that evening.

I received a 101. This was after I drove back to campus and practiced getting used to how I thought I would feel if I received a bad grade.  A few students got a 102 and, overall, the average was pretty high for an exam. I got the genus for the bonus question right, but not the specific epithet. So the perfect exam still remains my white whale.

Yesterday, we had a Microbiology lecture exam, our second one of the semester.  When you take exams out of 50 questions (that are converted into 100 points), the experience is nerve-wracking. You can lose points all over the place and drop from an A to a B, and a B to a C. And when you study biology, there’s a wealth of information. You never know what kinds of questions the professor is going to think is important. It’s hard to tease it out during lecture. Sometimes when the professor emphasizes things several times, it doesn’t appear on the exam because (I figure) he’s repeated it so much that he thinks we all know it.

I did what I said I wouldn’t, and stayed up until 3 am studying. Then I got up at 7:15 am, washed and dressed, and drove to campus. I sat in my car reviewing flashcards until 10:45 am, because I had to pee and sharpen pencils in a classroom in the West building where I was certain there was a pencil sharpener.

He posted the results for our class at around 5:45 pm or so, and I found I received a 95. Mind you, 3 of those points are most definitely from getting a bonus question correct, not that I’m complaining.  I know I got the first one wrong, which was an easy one, but I got very jumbled up and started reasoning/feeling that I needed to erase it and go with something that “looked” more like a definition. The other 6 points—I’m not sure where they went.  He lets us see the exams briefly, but doesn’t let us keep the exams for review, even after the other section has taken theirs.

Of course, studying for Microbiology has caused me to neglect Chemistry. Luckily, no labs were due last week (it’s getting embarrassing being late from my lunch hour because I had to drive to campus in crazy traffic, drop off my labs, try to grab something to eat, and drive back to work), but my chemistry professor has been flaky and assigned a take home quiz due yesterday. I did the best I could (we’ve been studying gases) and some errors (coupled with answers that matched what you get if you forgot to do something or calculated wrong) caused me to lose at least 4 points.

I’ve found that her lectures are useless and, most importantly, error-prone. She makes mistakes constantly. Once, she made a ton of mistakes while worried about her kid in the hospital, and she apologized for that and thanked us for not telling the dean. I thought to myself, “Um, how is that different from every other lecture?” Which is mean, so I feel bad for not excusing it and being frustrated by it. It just worsens my anxiety, really. But I’m not going to complain about her — she’s got a kid with physical and cognitive challenges, her grown kids apparently still rely on her for money, she has a disease, and she has to work. Her life is hard. I’m surprised she’s so lighthearted.

Plus, I should teach myself stuff. It’s going to be important that I do that for every class I take in the future. Teaching yourself is a very important skill. And I’ll probably need her to write a recommendation anyway. So I can’t let my frustrations get the better of me.

I have to learn how to handle everything, frankly. Maybe I got cocky after my first chemistry exam (97/100). I really have to not let these small mistakes eat away at me and my confidence.

And I have to develop a  stamina for this hamster wheel of going to school and working. It’s 4:30 pm on Tuesday, the day I designate to get work done/try to get ahead, and so far, I’ve done 2 chemistry problems. We have a second take-home quiz due tomorrow, in addition to pre-lab questions and a worksheet. I was just so tired. I really wanted to relax. And yesterday’s take home quiz disappointment was eating away at me.

So I’ll have a glass of wine and calm my mind down. I neglected everything to study for Microbiology. There’s laundry to do, grocery shopping, washing of my hair, sweeping, vacuuming, setting up of a special birthday dinner (I can’t bring myself to call the restaurant because I’m feeling shy and worried they won’t understand me or what I’m saying), plus the quiz, reading about Gases and Thermochem (two chapters!) for Chemistry. There’s a major exam on Monday. Plus, I have work on Thursday and Friday.

Yes, so….a glass of wine it is=)

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