Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Yesterday I arrived outside my Ancient and Medieval Philosophy classroom ten minutes early, having just finished DARTing. While I waited for the class prior to mine to clear out, I sat on one of the Debartolo benches, skimmed the Observer, and reviewed the choices of classes I'd made for next semester.
Since I had the earliest possible DART time, and am a senior finished with my major requirements as well as my university requirements, I had the choice of almost any classes offered in the entire University. As a result, my class schedule looks fairly easy next semester.
That got me to thinking, while I waited for Philo to start, whether I'd truly pushed myself as an undergraduate. I thought of some of the courses that had been most difficult for me -- Econometrics, History of Economic Thought... Intermediate Microeconomics.
That last one gave me pause. Intermediate Micro should not be tough. Anyone at Notre Dame should have the intellect to finish intermediate micro with ease, but it was a real struggle for me. Prof. James "Hot Shot Rak" Rakowski's murderous tests had truly challenged me, and it had taken long hours of studying to raise my grade to something up to my standards.
As I sat there, gradually becoming disheartened by my lack of academic accomplishments, students began to straggle out of the classroom and pass by my bench. "That test was brutal, wasn't it?" Asked one guy of the girl he'd walked out with. "Oh my God," she responded. "It was so terrible."
Probably a fluid mechanics or upper-level physics class, I thought to myself. These geniuses did have hard subjects. Their classes were so far beyond anything I'd ever taken. Where had my path diverged from theirs?
Meanwhile, what looked like the last test-taker stumbled through the door. He looked worn-out, frustrated, and defeated. He cursed out loud, dropping F-bombs for no one's benefit but his own. Wow, I though to myself, this test must have been a million times harder than anything I'd ever taken. Utterly defeated by this realization, I shuffled into the classroom.
I saw immediately that I had been mistaken: people where still taking the test, even though it was almost a half an hour past the end of their class time. I looked up at the front of the class. Sitting at the front desk, obviously reveling in the students' struggles with his trademark grin, was Hot Shot Rak himself. The chalkboard read, "Intermediate Micro Theory."
Maybe I've accomplished more than I've realized.

1 comment:

Aldrich said...

I feel you, really.