By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 59 – November 23, 2003
Now Playing: “Look At Miss Ohio” by Gillian Welch
To some, it may seem premature to write a column about the end of a semester nearly a month before the semester actually ends. I don't really have a good response to this. I guess it just FEELS like the end of a semester. Everyone's pretty much on autopilot: Teachers aren't putting any effort into their lectures, and students aren't putting any effort into their work. Take this column, for example. I put so little work into it that it practically wrote itself. I bet it will take you longer to read than it took me to write. And don't worry, I don't think I'm funny, either. Here's what happened:
-Let's get something straight: The Cat in the Hat is NOT a Christmas Movie. It has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. The Grinch WAS a Christmas movie. It had Christmas right in the title. The Cat in the Hat is just a Dr. Seuss movie. I don't understand why everyone suddenly associates it with the season. What the hell are they trying to pull?
-Quote of the Moment: Winter finals are coming up, or, as a professor reminded us: “Since this is a year-long course, Winter Finals aren't really a final exam. More like a semi-final.” He's a laugh riot. I didn't even know we made the playoffs.
-Because of this stressful pre-finals time of year, a lot of people are staying up late to study. A common phrase around here is “Man, I'm SO tired. I was up ALL night studying.” Of course, for most people, ‘up all night' doesn't actually MEAN they were up all night. It means they were up past Leno. Maybe even Conan. That's where I'm different. I've been up so long when I look out the window I can't tell if the sun is rising or setting.
-The end of the semester is the time of year when I really regret not having bought all of my textbooks. I needed one book for a paper that I was going to be up all night writing. I went to the bookstore and it was sold out. I went to the library, and it was gone. So I started calling around to the local bookstores to see if anyone had the book I needed. At one point, I called up a bookstore and the girl that picked up recognized me: She was a girl from the very class I was trying to get a book for. How very embarrassing. Luckily, she hadn't bought the book either.
-Towards the end of every course, they make all the students fill out a course evaluation sheet. This is where you get to grade the professor's performance, and thereby be indirectly responsible for the pay cut he or she will receive. We were told that it was very important that we take these course evaluations seriously. Yeah, right. I don't even take funerals seriously. Sometimes I go dressed as a drunk clown. They'll be lucky if I read through the course evaluation sheet long enough to not just make smiley faces with the scantron bubbles.
-At the end of every course evaluation sheet is a space for ‘General Comments'. The class is usually divided down the middle on this one. All the keeners write a little novella thanking the teacher in hopes that it will raise their GPA a bit. Everyone else treats it as though it is a form that says: “DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE”, and leave it totally blank. What's with those forms, anyway? Seems like a waste of paper to me. You don't want people to write in a certain space? Here's an idea: Don't give them space.
-Actual comments I wrote in the ‘General Comments' portion of a course evaluation: “I don't usually write any comments for course evaluations, and this will be no exception.” Hey, it's funnier than ‘semi-finals'.
-I've heard a lot of people say they're happy the semester's almost over because ‘they're all out of money'. What? As soon as the semester ends your financial troubles are over? Seems to me that now you've got Christmas shopping to do, and a month off school so you can buy lots of alcohol without worrying about the consequences. And what happens when the next semester starts? Your bank account magically replenishes? Here's an idea: You want more money? Quit whining and start saving. Don't use the school year as an excuse. Idiot.
-Official 3-Step Procedure for Booking Plane Ride Home for the Holidays: Step 1. Go to travel agent with range of flexible departure and return dates and a reasonable budget. Step 2. Be told that every flight going to and from your destination is booked solid and you should have come reserved a seat atleast six years in advance, but if you're willing to pay an additional exorbitant amount of money they might be able to fit you in on a plane that will fly over your destination and you can sort of jump out mid-flight. This flight is in late February. Step 3. Curse and throw things like a misfiring diabetic until you get your way. I didn't say I was proud of myself, but at least I get to go home.
-And, finally, as the semester winds down there are a lot of pub crawls going on, presumably because this is the last weekend to “party before starting to study for finals.” Here's how a pub crawl works: You pay $20 up-front. This buys you a t-shirt and a ride on the bus. You go around on a school bus with a bunch of people you don't know wearing a crappy t-shirt and visiting bar after bar, each of which has jacked up their prices because they know a bunch of drunks are coming no matter what. Then, once the you get to the final bar of the evening, the bus you came on takes off and everyone has to take a cab home anyway. By the time the night's done, you've wasted 7 hours and $100 and you're sitting at home wearing a mysteriously stained crappy t-shirt, like some kind of hobo. I think pub crawls exist just so finals look like fun by comparison.