Never underestimate a take home test
Just a few laughs
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 23:10
Life in the classroom comes with just a few joyful gems.
These snippets of peaceful motivation don’t exactly turn the streets into gold — or, to a much larger extent, Capri Sun Pacific Cooler — so much as they add just a minor yet vital spring into the collegiate step, the right amount of get up with a spritzing dash of go.
But then, from the woodwork of miracles, are the unspoken holy grails of academic living. Those founded idols that sit briskly upon the mantle of everything the promises like eons of our historic past of hope, humanity, three-day weekends and the Netflix “new episodes” icon.
Such tender mercies are as rare as the McRib, but none more less ubiquitous than the mother of all collegiate gifts, the icon of the intellectual, the Sultan of Swat — though that may just be from “ The Sandlot” — that is the guarded luxury that encapsulates all student jealousy.
I speak, my student comrades, of the ever-illusive take-home exam.
Think about it. It’s the bowling-with-gutter-railings of exams. I mean, work still needs to get done in one form or another, but as long as you just have enough to make a decent push you can have the assurance that some form of backup will keep you from scoring more than the zero pins you were potentially destined because, let’s be honest, who has spent time bowling more than once a quarter year outside of overweight sitcom dads and my sophomore year roommate for who-knows-what reason?
Beating this metaphor into a dead horse, the mere notion of a take home exam is the mental experience of watching those railing pop. All of a sudden, this weight is lifted. Before you know it, your schedule is opened up and your textbook can still remain in shrink wrap for at least one more day. It’s like getting an A-grade just for staying in your pajamas.
That is, at least, how it feels on face value. We all fall into this trap. Yet like the preteen Midwestern kid who starts every December always thinking it’ll be fun to shovel the driveway, we easily forget just how quickly the take homers become our biggest underestimated curse.
Take-home exams generally start out the same way. You formally call a five minute break from talking with roommates about how good you think Chipotle is to lock yourself in your room and breeze through these questions. It’s usually more authentic if you take the time to plan a get-together with friends at the exact time you do this so you can text, “Had 2 tk tst. B THR ASAP, Channing Tatum lmao.”
You keep “The Mentalist” playing on your TV so you don’t feel entirely like you’re doing work and open your laptop. This is typically when your face tenses and your eyes pop halfway out of your head.
324 questions. All open response. In 45 minutes.
You picture your professor laughing maniacally, which is 100-percent accurate, and take a breath. You can do this. They posted all of the notes on Canvas. Just copy and paste.
Good gracious! PDF files? Since when were 60-somethings tech-savvy enough to even know what those were?
This follows with three to six valuable minutes of panic, then a lightbulb. A 50-50 balance of skimming the text book for exact phrases and cowering through About.com. So clever. It most definitely couldn’t have been considered by the other 27 of your classmates who are doing it at this exact moment — except for that one girl who took it three days ago so she’d have to time to prepare her costume for the “Ender’s Game” premiere.
This works for about four, at most six, of the problems, then you come across the death knell of all take-home questions that usually follows something along this outline: “Please share an example of the four principles ‘discussed in class.’”
How could this happen? What principles? What was discussed in class so intently outside of that one discussion about what the professor would do to you if you plagiarized? How could a question so vague require such a specific response?
With your head and your legs and your phone now ever buzzing from friends’ texting “Dud, u c0mmin? Pretty Little Liars, WTF?” You elect to just type “Exactly 4.6 miles south of the Bearing Strait” in the last 47 boxes and cut your losses. You hit submit, grab your things, take one step outside of your apartment, conveniently realize all of the answers were on the study guide you saved to your desktop and careen your head rapidly through a car window.
The morals of this tale? Always prepare for the worst. Never assume anything will simply go your way. Most importantly, always have a steady collection of Capri Sun Pacific Cooler in your mini fridge — some things are just too valuable to put at risk.