I had my last Education Thursday yesterday - well, if except for the exam next week! (eeeeeep!!) I've enjoyed this particular class and feel I've gotten a lot out of it - surpassing my expectations in both regards. With one week left of classes (including two final exams and a presentation on my thesis to the entire department - double eeeeeeeep!), I'm feeling the same way about the term in general.
My first term as a full-time graduate student at my university has sped by. I've learned tons, have gotten a good start on my thesis, and really feel like I belong. But it has been tough too. I find the more I am able to do the more I realize I am missing out on... I can follow the discussions in my graduate seminars, but depending on the subject I can find it difficult to marshal my thoughts, put them into some semblance of coherent Japanese, and then actually say them before the discussion moves on elsewhere. The weekly response sheet for my education class is similar. Class ends and I'm usually still madly taking notes. By the time I've written my name, student number, and the class info, most of the other students are handing their sheets in. The prof has very kindly told me to take my time, but I nevertheless feel rushed trying to get SOMETHING coherent down on my sheet. It never fails that I am having lunch an hour later and suddenly think - "Ah! I should have said this!!!" or "Ah! Why didn't I think of that?!!"
All this has me rather worried about the upcoming exams. I love writing, and term papers or other such assignments have always been something I've enjoyed. Exams, however, well not having to write final exams was a definite plus of grad school! And yet here I am, back in grad school but taking undergrad classes and so having to write exams - in Japanese too! Sigh. Figuring out the question, sorting through what I want to say, and then writing it out by hand (without a dictionary, of course) just takes that much longer. Especially since both exams are in areas I've never studied before - bringing with them a whole set of specialized terminology... Aaaaaaa. But I am a regular student, and I don't want to ask for special treatment, so I will simply have to study hard and then do what I can on the day of the exam.
As my grade 8 social studies (I was in French Immersion, so it was actually sciences humaines, if you want to split hairs) teacher taught me, I will get a good night of sleep the night before, read through the entire exam before I write anything, and start with the questions I know I can answer, pacing myself throughout. I certainly don't remember my grade, but many of Mme. Clarke's lessons have remained with me to this day. In the same way, I'm going to try not to stress over how well I do or don't do on the exams, but instead focus on what I've gained from these two classes.
All the same... When it comes to picking out the rest of the undergrad courses I have to take for the curatorial certificate, I'm going to do my darnedest to make sure I pick courses with final papers instead of written exams!