Time Flies When You’re Having Fun or, This Test Wasn’t on the Syllabus

Courtesy teejaay (Flickr.com)
Courtesy teejaay (Flickr.com)

WARNING: The information that you’re about to read is privileged.

This is an account that took place in a secret room underneath Plant Hall.

Several professors—who will be left unnamed—were a part of this conversation. I was lucky enough to bear witness to one of the most reclusive meetings our professors have.

They do everything that they can to keep us from knowing about what they call the “Exam Planning Summit” (also known as EPS) where professors from all the majors get together and strategically plan where they are going to place their exams on the syllabus calendars.

Here’s what transpired:

Prof #1: Okay guys! Order! Order! Okay math professors! You can exchange calculator programs later. Please be seated.

Math Prof (as she hi-fives another professor): It’s not just a calculator; it’s a TI-89.

Prof #1: Okay folks it’s that time of year again—

(mumbles from the crowd)

I know I know. The summer of debauchery and Facebook quizzes was fun but all good things must come to a close. But hey, let’s make the most of it yes?

All Professors (menacing nods): Yeah, I agree.

Prof #1: Okay, so I have a test scheduled for the second Friday of school, but I don’t think that’ll be hard enough for my freshman students. Do we have a couple of Global Issues professors who could put a test or quiz on the same day?

Global Prof: Sure, I can!

Prof #1: Great! I know a lot of them are in those science classes. We need to throw a biology or chemistry test in the mix on a Monday.

Bio Prof: You got it.

Prof #1: What time is your class?

Bio Prof: Well most of mine are 8-ish?

Prof#1: Even better! Set the date! All right, we need icing on the cake. I need all of the English and philosophy people to get together and make sure the deadlines for your papers are as close together as possible, if not on the same day.

(No response. The English Professors have left for coffee or are exchanging poetry and the philosophy people have been debating amongst each other most of the time.)

And I need all of you in those Pass/Fail courses to make life as miserable as possible for students. Make them take notes and do 1,000 word chapter summaries as if it’s an actual class, okay? Our goal is to make life as hard as we effectively can for these kids, right?

Prof #2: I’m sure they’ll think of something. Okay, let’s break up into groups to make this thing as productive as possible!

(They then mingle with one another, writing out syllabi according to what will make things the hardest. Most taking notes and rearranging dates of assignments and quizzes as they go.)

Okay this isn’t exactly what transpires between the professors at the beginning of the semester, but I can assure you that in a week or two, that’s what it will feel like.

The truth is that all the professors I have come across in this university have been more than happy to help me out during office hours and after class to work things out. It has only been my fault that I end up knee deep in material I don’t know a couple of nights before a test.

I say this as a warning to new students and, even more so to returning students like myself.

Do not get caught up in a false sense of security!

Sure, it seems like the first test is only two weeks away, but really, understand that your first test is only two weeks away.
Sure, separately the syllabi looks fairly non-intimidating, but with all their powers combined, they are a force greater than Captain Planet.

No, literally, they will wipe you out if not dealt with in increments.

Don’t get caught spending the rest of the semester making up for one terrible test grade.

Trust me, you do not want to be in the boat of, “So if I get a 100 on the rest of the exams…I’ll have a B…maybe.”

Before you know it the end of the semester will be here, and you’ll be busy cramming for finals with thoughts of Christmas break flying through your head.

Good luck with that late-night study session!

Just take the material in as it comes. I know Ybor is beckoning, but perhaps stay in until you had a good test week and you really have a reason to celebrate. I will if you will.

Nicole Robinson can be reached at nrobinson@ut.edu.

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