Finals Week

Fall semester is ‘finally’ done. I can’t believe a semester is over so soon. Didn’t I just begin -a total newb, a few weeks ago? So many unknowns there were…

I’m typing this at 37,000 feet over Albuquerque, eating Southwest Airlines peanuts. This week has been fairly slow, not much happening in the way of athletics or campus goings on. All energy is focused on the final exams that are taking place this week campus wide. Monday morning I had the Computer Info final exam and the Chinese final was in the afternoon. It feels wonderful to be done with a subject and sell the books and shelve the notebooks.

The art final I finished last week, with an A. That class is known campus-wide as a grade booster. All classes are given via cable TV, with reruns available online. All the quizzes are online and I can take them as often as I want and the graded results are displayed, along with the correct answers. So, after about 4 tries I usually have a perfect score. If this isn’t enough, there are many extra-credit opportunities. I could have skipped the final and the last quiz and still have gotten an A in the class.

The CIS exam was another exam given in the lab; 50 multiple choice questions. I stopped in at the prof’s office and got his permission to use him as a job reference. That was my easiest class after art. I found out the professor is an avid backcountry skier –now I have a source of important information.

The Chinese exams were not so easy. The oral exams were last week; where I had to tell the teacher about my roommates, what I’m studying, where I’m from, etc, in Chinese of course. The final on Monday didn’t seem too difficult. I happened to meet the professor on the pedway Tuesday; she said I got an A in the class which was good news for me indeed.

The Geography exam gave me reason to study long and hard. Nothing is computerized in that class, not even the grading. The professor is emeritus, which I think means retired, or honorary something or other. He’s capable of delivering lectures over 2 hours long, can answer nearly any question he is asked about world geography, and grades papers by hand. His lecturing ability and class size intimidated me during the first few weeks, but I found him to be a very personable lecturer. I went to his office to study before exams and took advantage of his overflowing enthusiasm of geography. He would expound on different countries’ inflation problems –how a mono-economy and corrupt leaders have disastrous results for a nation. Sometimes we’d get far off the subject –like having him tell me why the world’s coral reefs are diminishing when the test was actually on Bolivia. Those visits were always a highlight.

Tuesday evening I found out there were friends from Shippensburg en route from Los Angeles planning to visit Grand Canyon so I gave them a call and met them at Grand Canyon Wednesday morning and spent a few hours there, did a bit of hiking and such like. I got back to Flag in time for my Geography exam in the evening. Wednesday night after the exam Paul and I went over to the game room to play pool because he wanted another chance to tip our season score in his favor. We played a few games, all tied, then played with some pros for a while –we are not pros- and then our Chinese friends came in and we played them a few games. It was a fun evening and I got to meet a lot of my acquaintances again before leaving for winter break. I also got in contact with a girl from the Hong Kong business college that NAU exchanges students with. A semester in Hong Kong would allow me to get a nice scholarship and change my major from Business to International Business…

Well, that’s my week in a nutshell, or perhaps it’s the expanded version. A few more hours and I’ll be descending into civilization/Washington DC. The pilot said it’s cloudy with light rain there –sounds vaguely familiar. Living in a desert has benefits -maybe like a Caribbean island. In a lot of ways it’s paradise, but it feels mighty small and confined after a while. For my few readers, I’ll probably see you in person before you read this.