I really did think today was off to a good start–but if this semester has taught me one thing, and one thing only, it’s that every day that starts out too good to be true won’t be true for very much longer.
It began with an ominous forecast: two back-to-back tests in my graduate-level math classes. I hadn’t done as well as desired on either one of my previous midterms (which were not on the same day), so I was especially nervous about today. But I began studying last week, studied all weekend, and even continued studying this morning.
I woke up (relatively earlier than usual), went to the dining hall for an early lunch, and while I ate, finished reviewing for my second test. Then, while I walked across campus toward my second class, I reviewed my flashcards for my first test. It was all going so well.
And then suddenly it wasn’t.
I stopped to drop off some important, time-sensitive paperwork, and upon leaving I realized that my bag was soeaking wet. I immediately reached in to make sure my electronics were dry (and they were, thankfully), and so were my papers and whatnot, but as I closed my bag and started toward class (completely unnerved and confused by this sudden appearance of wetness from nowhere), I realized one of my buttons–a precious button I got at the DC Holocaust Museum more than a year ago that said “What You Do Matters”–was, alas, gone. Completely gone.
And then it got worse: When I got to my class and gave a more thorough search of my bag for moisture, I found the reason why my papers and stuff weren’t wet was because my snacks had sopped it all up (from where? I still have no idea). My s’mores brownie was soggy and I had to toss it out. And my snack bag–a washable canvas bag that I had just refilled with a combination of dried fruit, nut-free granola, and cereal–was also soaked.
So there goes all my snacks for between tests. And they weren’t cheap either.
My first test went well, but it came with a caveat: My professor announced it would be part take-home, which means I’ll have to set-aside my usual studying time for other classes to finish the test. But I got down the minimum I needed to finish in class, and I was able to leave on time to get to my next class, well, on time (which doesn’t always happen with this class, and certainly didn’t happen after our first midterm).
I’m feeling pretty prepared for my second test when my teacher comes into the classroom and starts writing on the board: THIS TEST IS TOO LONG and then assigns us a third of it as take-home. So now I have to complete two math tests while managing not to fall behind in the homework they’re preventing me from doing.
But there was still some good news!
I finished the in-class portion of the test on time (although I made a mistake somewhere, I’m sure of it, couldn’t find it, and fudged my answer a bit–I think it might plausibly be correct, or at least not terribly much more wrong than it was beforehand), and then I learned I don’t have to go to a gourmet donors appreciation dinner on Wednesday.
Wait, you might ask, why is that good news? Doesn’t every college student like free gourmet food? And while normally I would agree, this dinner would mean finding a ride (since it was moved off campus at the last minute) and dressing up in a suit. I don’t particularly like dressing up in my suit, and since I had to wear it last week, it also means doing the laundry. I don’t particularly like doing the laundry.
Furthermore, and most importantly, it means I don’t have to cancel my tutoring on Wednesday (which falls at the same time) and that means I don’t lose an hour of pay (and, of course, that my tutee can continue to succeed in the class, which is perhaps equally as important in terms of my job being fulfilling, regardless of how fulfilled it makes my wallet).
So if I’ve learned two things this semester, and only two things, it’s that even when the day goes suddenly wrong–and trust me, it will–there’s still something to celebrate. Even if it’s only the fact that things could still be much worse and they aren’t, it’s at least a start.