Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Bad Essay and A Glimpse into Exams

I mentioned in my last entry that I had to go pick up one of my essays, but I didn't mention what went on when I did so.

First of all, getting to my teacher's office was an adventure in itself. There's been a ton of construction on campus as new buildings are erected and others are simply touched up. I'm not sure which one Arts Two (as it's called, though that makes little sense since it holds mostly history tutors and their classes) is, since whatever they were doing on it began long before I arrived. Anyway, it's finished now and my teacher has just moved into it. The trick was figuring out where the entrance was because, though it is situated next to the main road, you can't get in from there- there's a back way that I had to seek out. By keeping my eye on the building, I managed to find it (so easily, in fact, that I doubted myself.) Of course, finding the office wasn't simple- I only found the right hallway because my teacher had told us in an e-mail which is was, and though he had given us a room number, there weren't any number plates on the doors. The only reason I found his office is because his door was open.

I got there right after another girl and was asked to wait. This was a little alarming- I had thought we were just picking up the papers. We were having conferences?! I shouldn't have been freaked out by this, but I was because though I worked for about a month on this paper (including research reading), and worked hard... deeo down inside, I knew I had probably done it wrong. Because of this, I was pretty nervous when it was my turn to go in.

I was correct- despite my best efforts, I didn't do as well as I would have liked on the essay. Basically, the conference was littered with the word "but"- "Your essay was well-written... but you didn't use enough sources... but you're a great writer... but this is only the beginning of a good essay... but I consider you one of my best students in the class... but I know you can do better than this." I didn't know how I was supposed to feel about what he was saying- he was very nice about it and complimentary of me as a student, saying that he admired the way I dicussed all of the topics in class from all sides of the issue, but I felt terrible that I had done so poorly on the essay, and I could tell that he saw that I felt that way. In passing he asked me what my main course of study was, and when I said drama, he said, "Ohhh, that's why," but that didn't make me feel better. Being a drama student is not a reason for not being able to write an essay, especially since the best essay I've ever written was for the drama program here! I was kind of waiting for him to suggest that I rewrite the essay, and I couldn't decide if that was more humiliating than accepting the grade that I got.

Now before anyone gets too worried- my grade isn't bad. I'm still not happy with it, but I got a high C (the equivalent of an 82% back home), which is a grade most of my English classmates would celebrate over. I just don't like getting Cs, and I think the bigger source of my unhappiness is because I loved this class, and it always sucks to do poorly in a class you love.

In any case, my teacher gave me a lot of notes so I can do better on the exam (which is not an essay. He said it was questions, but then said we have two hours to answer two questions. Seems like an essay to me, but we'll see.)

(Also, when I was getting my replacement i.d. yesterday, I walked past a room and literally pulled myself back for a second look. For anyone who's read the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we do essay exams the same way:

Except that Queen Mary's exams look even more Harry Potter-esque because they're actually held in this set-up in a giant, red-curtained and dark wood-paneled room called the Great Hall. The only thing missing are the wizarding robes and the giant hour glass.)

(Also also- I had a nightmare last night that was very scary and I was exhausted when I woke up from it, but even as I was running from the scary people, when I ended up walking behind Will and Kate in a dark city that I knew was London but looked like Italy, I stopped to take a picture. That's how I roll even in dreams.)


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