Are you a coursework or exam person?
Do you thrive on the horrible stress of sitting in a hall, in absolute silence, while trying to answer insanely difficult questions which have the power to affect the rest of your life? Or do you prefer to take some time over your work, enlisting the help of family and friends or, better still, the Internet, to ensure you get everything perfect?
I used to think I was more of a coursework person (horrible stress and me don’t really get on) but after this morning I’m not so sure…
“What happened this morning?” I hear you ask and although it is still painful I will tell you. But first a bit of back story….
For the last 3 months I have been writing up my biology field work. My study was “The effect of soil thickness on the abundance of the moss Ceratodon purpureus.” Yes I know it sounds fascinating (sarcasm alert). But weirdly enough I got really into moss. Not literally; I wasn’t rolling around in the stuff, at least not often, but certainly I was starting to find moss quite engaging.
Anyway, I spent many hours poring over academic studies; drawing, rubbing out and re-drawing graphs; wearing out my calculator buttons with sums; choosing just the right moss pictures out of the many millions on Google; not to mention experimenting with every conceivable font in Word, until I had THE PERFECT report. Yep, all the hard work and anally retentive diligence had paid off. I could still do really badly in my exams but, with this ‘killer report’, I probably wouldn’t fail, or at least not quite as dramatically.
Well, today was the deadline for handing it in. I stopped off at a stationers in town and bought a plastic cover with a bright orange edge that contrasted nicely with my green moss pictures. I carefully placed my ‘magnum opus’ in the cover, hugged it to my chest (bit weird but hey) and carried it carefully into my lesson where I laid it on a table with stacks of others. It was pretty hectic in class with quite a few people (losers!) desperately inserting sheets, rubbing stuff out, renumbering pages, swearing loudly etc. but I could sit smugly down knowing my report was perfect just how it was
Ms Wilson (quite attractive for an education professional) started to gather up everyone’s work. Unfortunately, other people had stolen my idea of the plastic cover and so the reports started sliding everywhere. Then, with a painful stab of anxiety I watched as my report skidded to the floor, its cover peeling back at a horrible angle. I ran to scoop it up before any more damage could be done and handed it to the waiting Ms Wilson.
“Thanks Josh,” she said, smiling.
“No problem,” I said, smiling back.
And then, just as she bore my masterpiece away I caught a glimpse of something under the plastic cover. Something pressed flat like a flower, except that this wasn’t a flower, it was…
And not just any pube. A bright ginger one!
I stood there helpless, mouth open, heart pounding. There was nothing I could do; Ms Wilson was placing all the reports in a cupboard under her desk which she then locked. My beautiful pristine report had been… defiled!
An hour or so later…
“Maybe it was a beard hair? says Davey, as we sit in the park eating our cut price, past-its-date, Indian snack selection. “Pubes can be similar in consistency to beards… So I’m told.”
“That’s true,” I say, feeling slightly encouraged. “Does anyone in our class have a ginger beard?” We both think about the motley collection of people who make up our biology classmates. We do have a few hipsters…
“Sarah Lupton!” announces Davey.
“Sarah doesn’t have a beard!” I say.
“She has a mustache!”
“This wasn’t a mustache hair Davey! It must have been… like 3cms long!”
“Curled up or stretched out?” says Davey.
“Urgh I don’t know. Oh this is gonna mean an instant fail.”
Failing biology is bad enough but the thought of pubes working their way into perfectly pristine reports is also putting me off an excellent onion bahjee. I chuck the Indian delicacy to a passing crow who spends a long time tossing it about in his beak – presumably checking for body hairs.
“Nah,” says Davey. “It may mean a few marks deducted but that would depend on if Ms Wilson thinks it’s a pube or a beard hair. If she decides it’s a beard hair I’d say a 5% reduction in overall percentage. Pube hair? Probably more like 20%.”
“Great,” I say. “I spent about a hundred hours on that report!”
“I spent around five,” says Davey.
Davey nods. “But then luckily I don’t have a pube lowering my score. So we’ll probably come out even.”
I grab the last spinach pakora and shove it in my mouth. It’s Davey’s but he could do with losing some weight… not to mention smugness!
Six hours later
At home this evening I decide to look up coursework nightmares. Hopefully there will be other people who’ve had really, really bad experiences which will make me feel loads better.
I do however find an article on 25 original excuses for not handing in your coursework – http://list25.com/25-creative-excuses-for-not-turning-in-your-homework/ (Don’t say I never do anything for you!) They’re pretty good but I would add a number 26. My coursework was invaded by an attack of random body hairs. I bet that’s an excuse no one’s ever used.