• Stephen Burckhardt

Fourth of July, Mac & Cheese, and Final Exams


Yesterday was a busy day for me. I got up and spent my morning going through practice tests, over and over again. I found an app for the class I was taking (there seems to an app for just about everything anymore) and had been furiously reviewing all 310 questions that could possibly be on my test.

For this class, there is a bank of 310 questions out of which they randomly pull 33 questions. You only need to answer 17 questions right to pass. I'm sure you all are thinking, wow, that is an easy pass, and you'd be right. However, I'm one of those OCD, I want everything in my world to be perfect, kind of people. So, I studied my ass off in hopes of achieving a perfect score.

The morning of my test, I obsessively took the practice tests again and again. I was getting a perfect score most of the time but occasionally I would miss one or two answers, which is still well above the requirements to pass my class but that just wasn't good enough. There were several options in this app. You could quiz yourself on regular random tests, retake just the questions you have missed at least once, or more than once. You could quiz by question category, questions you got right, and even just quiz on all 310 questions. I did them all.

By the time I left for class, I got my overall average score up to 99%. Who wouldn't be thrilled with that score? Apparently, me. I felt disappointed, I had hoped for better.

I got to class early and decided to run though the practice tests a few more times before the teacher came in to give us the test. While everyone else sat and chatted, I practiced again and again and finally got my overall score to an average of 100%. I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself. That didn't last long.

The teacher came in and ran through the usual testing information and checked everyone's IDs. After we all filled out the forms it was time to open our test booklets and begin. I felt so ready for this!

I opened my test booklet and read the first question and . . . I had no idea what the answer was. I didn't even remember having ever read this question. I felt like someone punched me in the gut. My chance at a perfect score seemed impossible from question one.

Reading that first question and realizing I had no idea what the right answer was just took the wind right out of my sails but I pushed on. I skipped question one and went to two. This one I knew, no problem. Three, I knew this one too. I began to pick up speed as I ticked off answer after answer with a renewed confidence. I got to the end and went back to question one.

I read the question again, slowly. I focused on the key words and something flickered. I thought I remembered something the teacher had said and I scanned the answers again for anything that came close to what I was remembering. One word seemed to catch in my memories and I marked my last answer. I felt tension release that I didn't realize I was holding.

Now, there had been one other question in the middle of the test where I had gone back on forth between two answers, but I m pretty sure I came to the correct conclusion on that one. So, as it stands, I feel confident I passed my test and am finally finished with my classes. I can relax and get back to what I miss most right now, writing!

It will be a few weeks before I get my results back and know my final fate. What will it be? It will fall between having achieved 100%, missing one question for 97%, or at the worst, missing two for 94%, I won't lie, if it's anything other than 100% I will be disappointed but life will go on.

Shaggy will be thrilled I will be home with him more. We can go on walks and work on more training for him. We were working on "play dead" but he needs a little bit more practice on that one. He hasn't figured out that being dead means not waging your tail. He will get it eventually, I have faith in him.

Being finished with school right now is the most glorious feeling. I face a future filled with days where I am writing again, spending more time with P.R. and Shaggy, and giving homework instead of doing it! What could be better?


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