Today marked the last day of classes for the fall semester, a fact I don't at all believe and for which I have launched an investigation. I've escalated the matter to the calendar gods who have not been forthcoming with a concrete response, choosing instead to refer me to the 2011 annual calendar. I will report back as soon as they assure me that the earth did indeed speed up by mistake and that they're working on it and that we're actually still in September. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
On a more serious note, final exams are upon us here at Oberlin College, which means I have acquired a fresh contingent of acquaintances. They are called Memorization and More Memorization, and, to use an American expression, we've gotten super-duper close lately. This week, I am confronted with mountainous heaps of information that needs to be translocated from all those thick textbooks and readings to my skull, and then organised for easy retrieval in about 72 hours.
This is not a metaphor for what is to come .Things Fall Apart is a required text for my African Politics class.
Naturally, this whole episode is a source of panic and delirium for me, seeing as this is my first encounter with the ultimate academic slap across the face known in more civil terms as finals. I am furiously ripping through yellowing problem sets and dog eared readings in a frenzied effort to juggle my memory back to all those lectures I had throughout the semester, and I have simply managed to make myself nervous by asking myself questions which I am not (yet) able to answer. When did Malcolm X split from the Nation of Islam again? How did that theta disappear from this triple integral? Is this vector field conservative? And beer's Law--what's that curly E for again? And what about the World Bank--what factors did they identify for the economic crises in Africa in the 1980s, and what was the response given by the African leaders in the Lagos plan of action?
All these and a bucketful more are actual questions that are buzzing in my head like a swarm of locusts, and all of them need to be answered by way of me reading about them again. And probably again. In the midst of all this, I have chosen to remain calm and at peace, and to take my mind off the books when I can. Tomorrow, the Obertones will be performing a concert in Fairchild Chapel which I am going to. We'll sing a bit of Backstreet Boys and a bit of Toto and hopefully get some respite, however momentary, from the pressure of final exams.
And we will survive this. Scarred, but alive.