Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finals Week

I write to you from the Peets next to CVS, as I muse about my finals week schedule this quarter.

What I've been thinking the most about is how much I miss in-class finals. Term ID's, short answers, 2-3 page written essays. Post-final euphoria, hearing people yell and laugh as they exit exam rooms. The feeling of kicking a final in the ass, walking out and being DONE. Summer, beach, sun, awaiting you as you exit Peterson 108.

It seems like those kinds of finals have phased out of my life, and instead I have twenty page papers and research summaries replacing blue books at the end of each quarter. This blogpost is doubtlessly overly sentimental, and I fully expect that in the coming year I will have yet another encounter with an in-class final, but for now I miss the comfort of regurgitation. In those in-class finals, yes, they are grueling and exhaustive, but you only have to understand events! things! "Explain: Iran-Iraq War" At most, we get asked for a comprehensive essay on "pan-arabism in the 20th century," etc. But in these research papers, there's no cushion or easy fallback on specific events. I have to actually think. A lot. I have to actually argue, engage in the discourses of 20 different books, scholars and their theories.

For now, I'm just missing the comfort of an in-class summary of what "happened" that one time, that one place...

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to feel like as I move into my senior year I am challenged and capable of some higher engagement in scholarship. But it's a little exhausting, no?

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