Midterm report

One more week — no, wait, three more days — until spring break. Apparently in the spirit of “whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” I have three midterms and a paper due over the course of a week. Nifty. Oh, and the cherry on top? A take-home midterm which consists of 5 essay questions of up to 3 pages each. You have got to be kidding me, right? Alas, no. I hate take-home tests. I really do.

Last Friday was the midterm for Images of Modern Italy. This is a very interesting class, which I am enjoying very much. Unfortunately, that’s not the same as feeling like I’ve got the subject matter under control. Part of the problem is that the class, which meets twice a week, involves a lot of watching Italian films on Fridays, and discussing them the following Monday. Well, sure, that’s a good idea — give me a whole weekend to forget everything! I can barely remember what kind of car I drive when I leave work at the end of the day. Review guide: A list of 6 questions, of which some unannounced number will be on the test. It turns out to be 3, and it turns out to be not horrifically hard. We haven’t gotten our grades back yet, but the instructor mentioned in an aside to me and another girl in the class that we did really well. Other folks, not so much, apparently. Too bad for them. And yes, I am at least as mean as that sounds.

Monday, besides being a crapola day anyway because of my schedule (work 9-1, classes 1-3:45, class 6-8:30) I had a 5-page paper due in my late class, Child Labor and International Human Rights. Topic: Define what a child is, define “child labor,” define what should be done about child labor, and explain why a global solution is the only possibility of ending it. Cake. Well, sort of. I’m reasonably happy with the final draft, although ever since I turned it in I’ve been thinking of stuff I could have added. Again, I really like this class and the format the professor is using. We usually have a couple of chapters from a book to read, then we split up into smaller groups to discuss related questions, then we come back together for a full-class discussion and sometimes lecture. I would be more effusive about the class and the professor, but I’m still pissed about that ginormous take-home midterm. And yes, I am pouting as much as that sounds.

This morning — you guessed it — another midterm. This one in History of the American Working Class Before 1900, another way-interesting class. I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record. So I like school; sue me. I did not feel very confident about this midterm, because it had a very heavy reading load that I have not kept up with as well as I’d like. Review guide: Two pages of questions that won’t be on the midterm, although questions “like them” might be. Questions unlike them also might be. Remind me again of the purpose of a “study guide”? Anyway, the test was 3 “short” essays chosen from a list of 6, and one “long” essay chosen from a list of 2. I am not despairing about the results, but I’m not skipping for joy, either. We’ll see. And yes, I am as ambivalent about my potential grade as that sounds.

So. One more midterm, on Friday, and this one’s gonna be bad. It’s Intermediate Italian 2, or fourth-semester Italian. I’ve been doing pretty well in this class, but this particular section of study has some stuff that is completely kicking my ass. If you were around for the fall semester, you won’t be surprised to hear that once again it’s those damn verb forms. There’s this one particular bit, about which tense you use in dependent clauses, and in “if” clauses, and I. Just. Cannot. Keep. This. Straight. I just can’t. I have no idea what I’m going to do on the midterm. Somehow I don’t think crying is an option. And yes, I am as panicky about the test as that sounds.

Stay tuned for the fallout. And in the meantime, don’t cry for me, Argentina. Or in this case, Italia.

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