Making the grade

So finals for fall semester ended Friday, and ever since I have been checking ISIS every, oh, 90 minutes or so to see my updated “Grades in Progress” report. The first to show was Writing Theory and Practice, which didn’t have a final per se, but a 5-page research paper that had to be turned in last Wednesday. Ahh, an A. Excellent.

Next up was Foundations of GIS. This one I was a bit worried about, partly because I missed one of the labs (the GPS field research) and partly because I had no feel for how the curve might be shaping up. I knew I was around 90 percent going into the final, but would that be good enough to score an A? As it turns out, apparently it was, or else I aced the final (thanks for the study group, Andrea!). Two down, two to go.

Next: History Colloquium, which had no final but a 15-page research paper that was all I worked on the entire second half of the semester. The colloquium was on World War I, and my research topic was the treatment of prisoners of war, and the role played by international humanitarian agencies such as the Red Cross in watching out for them. It turned out to be a fascinating topic, and I was justly rewarded with an A.

Finally, Intermediate Italian I. I knew this would be the last grade to post, because the final was at the ungodly hour of 7 p.m. Friday. It was also the class I worried most about, simply because it seemed like things kind of spiraled out of my control a bit toward the end of the semester. I found myself spending more time writing my two research papers and less time doing my Italian homework, and as a result had a hell of a time remembering the differences and conjugations for the future and conditional tenses and the subjunctive mood. I’m pretty sure I also missed turning in a 1-page composition (and a couple or three lab assignments) during the last few weeks of class, which is never a good idea. I had about 3 hours free before the final, and I spent most of it sitting in the downtown Dairy Queen cramming my brain full of the futuro semplice and futuro anteriore, the condizionale and the congiuntivo. I guess it paid off: A.

So of course I’m happy with those grades. It does ratchet up the (self-inflicted) pressure a bit, though — I have yet to receive less than an A since I returned to college in 2003. I know it won’t be the end of the world if (more likely when) I do “fall from grace.” But I’d like to postpone the inevitable as long as possible, you know?