Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Either Know it or You Don't

Day 14/ Midterm Day: Are You Ready?

Six hours. That's how much sleep I got last night.

It's surely not the amount I want, the night before midterm, but at least I had some sleep rather than none at all. There were two reasons why I couldn't go to sleep any earlier:
  1. It was very warm and muggy in my dorm room. It was very uncomfortable, attempting to sleep as sweat was literally rolling down your face. I made so many trips to the hallway water fountain; I needed to cool down.
  2. My roommate and a friend hers decide to study up to two in the morning. At first I didn't mind, but by one o'clock I realized that it was just too late to stay up with them. I tried going to bed, but it was hard trying to sleep through their whispers and light. My roommate is very nice, but I wish she would've told me when she and her friend planned to stay up. (However, do realize that as an optimist, I see this more of as a good learning experience. Next time I'm going to bed earlier so that if she does want to study, at least I've already fallen asleep.)
For breakfast, I surprisingly had cheerios and bananas. I think I read somewhere once that eating a banana before a test helps stimulate your brain. I was going to need all the stimulation I could get after the little sleep I had.

While I sat in the lecture room, about 20 minutes before the test began, I reread some of my notes. In addition to this, I took some time to inspect the room and the classmates around me. Some, I could see, were really nervous, as they sorted through their papers and pages. Others were not as worried; they texted on their phone or went on the occasional Facebook on their laptops.

Yesterday, I was nervous about the test. Especially last night, while I was brushing my teeth. A girl I didn't know too well but I knew was from my class, started quizzing me with some quotes she remembered. I knew all the ones she threw at me, but she also finished most of my answers for me. By having her confront me like that, reminded me that this class had some competitive people and I was really going to have to step up my game.

Yet, by this morning, I was not nervous. I guess you can say that I've studied up to a point where the attitude transformed into : "you either know it or you don't." And I felt like I had a good grasp of what Prof. Kramnick wanted to teach us in the past week. But what really made feel good before the test was knowing that I understood and remembered all these important concepts, not because I studied really hard and forced myself, but because I really found the information interesting and ended up soaking everything up like a sponge.

This was the perfect mind set to start a test in because the mid term was not as frightening we all thought. The one hour flew by quickly. I was able to answer and understand all the questions on the midterm. Although it wasn't perfect, I finished my essay (this was a fear I had because I knew I take a while to write and trying to write a good essay in an hour is tough.)

After midterm or during break, I got the sense that everyone else in the class felt really good about the test. It was not as hard as they all assumed. Everyone was smiling because they felt they did a relatively good job. And after hearing that a lot of people also wrote essay prompt 2, the one I chose to write, I wondered how my essay compares to my fellow peers. I felt a bit nervous that I might not have done as good of a job as everyone else.

The hour and a half lecture followed promptly after break. Today we talked about Women's Rights and their place in society in the course of Western history. For only six hours of sleep, I paid some very good attention. I was completely in tuned with what Kramnick teaching us. I've always seen the topic "Women's Place in History" as the one that got away because back in 8th grade, I had a big research project to do where you get to pick your topic. My first choice was Women's Suffrage but I later changed it to the Chinese American Experience. As a result, I've always found topics Gender Inferiority very interesting.

After lunch, we ended our class with a Writing Session. Simon G. talked to us about common grammar mistakes found on college papers. This was a completely new type of grammar session than any I've done in the past. All this new grammatical and writing styles we're learning is not something a high school teacher might expect from their students. I cannot wait until I bring all that I've learned to future papers I'll write in school.

The second half of today's writing session, consisted of peer to peer editing. Everyone got paired into groups of two, each reading the first draft of your partner's Plato Essay. My partner was Zach and reading a paper like his was a first. I've done a lot of peer to peer editing in my 10 years in school and many have not been as good as his. I'm used to defacing my friend's essays with all my corrections and comments, but in Zach's case, I didn't see the usual grammatical errors. This isn't to say his paper was perfect, but at least you can still read his essay after all the things I wrote on it.

Zach also did a great job editing. He gave me lots of important suggestions and feedbacks that I will definitely apply to my second draft. This was the first time peer to peer editing has really benefited me. In the past, the classmates that read my essays seldom make any corrections on my work. I know I don't have a perfect paper but it's hard to know what needs fixing when your reader claims that your paper is free from error.

Tonight's reading consists of Wollstonecraft and de Gouge, two leading figures of 18th century feminism. I plan to get my reading done as soon as this blogs over so I can possibly reward myself with a bowling game after dinner.

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