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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Spring Finals Edition

Roundtable: Feel better about your bad final, at our expense


Finals week marks the most stressful week of each semester, but at least we’re not alone in our suffering.

Whether it be a missed alarm, forgotten scantron, misread syllabus or general test anxiety, we all have at least one finals horror story.

So maybe your final didn’t go great, but in the spirit of misery loving company, we’ve compiled some of our board members’ most embarrassing, traumatizing and downright hilarious — in a pathetic, sad way — finals mishaps.

Oscar Aguilar, features editor

A 102-question final stresses out even the most experienced test taker. A 102-question final in 30 minutes brings them to their knees.

But before you send my teacher hate emails for lacking compassion and basic human decency, you should know he actually gave the class two hours to complete the exam. Unfortunately, I had a flight to catch halfway through the final.

Why did I need so much time to get the airport? If you’ve ever experienced Houston’s bumper-to-bumper traffic at 5 p.m. on a Monday, you know why. Why didn’t I ask my professor to take the exam before the scheduled time like most people would in this situation? Well, I’m not most people. I still refuse to admit I misread the syllabus.

And no, that’s not me admitting it.

Anyway, after somehow finishing 102 questions in 27 minutes, I dashed across campus, committed a few traffic violations, finessed my way to the front of the airport security line, got on the wrong plane, got on the right plane and sat next to “Houston’s sickest rapper” for two hours.

I guess everything turned out OK. But in hindsight, maybe I should’ve listened to my student ambassador’s advice on touching Shasta’s paw for good luck.

Jasmine Davis, managing editor

Once upon a time, I was a neuroscience major at the University of Texas at Dallas. As evidenced by my position at The Cougar, and subsequent role in this roundtable of humiliation, that is no longer the case.

While I would like to say it all started with my Calculus I final, it definitely began with the fact that math and science were never my strong suit. Sparing myself the embarrassment of discussing the latter, here goes the story of the most life-altering final I ever took.

When I took calculus in high school, I passed the year with a flat 70. Naturally, I decided to enroll in the college equivalent course during my first semester of freshman year. To my surprise — and misery, if we’re being honest — it was actually the easiest class I took that semester, until finals week.

I had a 97 in the class at the beginning of December, so I thought my time was better spent studying for the courses giving me the most trouble. I gave calculus a few hours effort the day of the exam and walked into the testing center with confidence.

That confidence lasted until about question 13 of the 20-question exam, which was worth 40 percent of our final grade. This was material I’d never learned, and I’d only missed one class all semester.

Long story short, I tried my best, turned in the test, panicked the whole 3-hour drive home for winter break, changed my major, filled out a transfer application to UH, and didn’t check my transcript until the end of my first semester here.

Did I overreact? Probably. But I was pre-med back then, and the stakes were nearly as high as my test anxiety.

I ended up with an A- in the class, but I’m much happier at UH, regardless.

Anusheh Siddique, web editor

Life as a political science student is typically relaxed — we spend our time contemplating philosophy and why our politicians do the dumb things they do. This isn’t to discredit my major, but rather preface the happy-go-lucky life I led before taking the class from hell.

It started out with me, a naive and innocent former AP student, wandering into college and deciding to take a junior level statistics class, because why not? The class featured my tenured elderly professor who really couldn’t care less about the material or the class, as was evident by his frequent and irrelevant anecdotes on whiskey and the best marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.

I assumed college was a breeze and this was going to be just like Saved by the Bell. My life didn’t turn out to be like a sitcom, but boy was that final a cruel joke.

It was scheduled for May 8, way too close to the end of the semester for me to invest as much effort as I should have in studying. I wandered into class, absurdly unprepared without a Blue Book because in high school we used regular paper, and sat in my seat. The test was a culmination of things I had no clue about and questions that had the vaguest resemblance to content I’d somehow osmosized in class.

I could have died.

It was so tragic that I actually ended up smudging a word or two in my essay with my very casual tears. I left that class with very little hope remaining for my future and in the entire field of political statistics. I am dramatic, this is a fact, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt like I set new standards for a negative score on a final.

The grades came out two days later and I got a 92 with what I can only assume was a 82 point curve.

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