Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ostracizing Myself, One Step At A Time

To understand this post, I need to put it in context. One of my classes is filled with a bunch of whiners. OK, so they are in all my classes, but the Prof. is more accessible than most, so people think a lot of whining can get him to change his mind. And it worked. From the start of the semester, he was adamant that the final would be closed book. This did not bother me in the slightest, I mean, you know the circumstances and you adjust. I was not crazy about memorizing several factors for several different tests, but you do what you have to.

About a month ago, the whining began. People would ask questions in class, and end the question with, "I don't get how we are supposed to be able to apply this statute if it is closed book." After a couple weeks of this the Prof. made the biggest mistake possible. He relented, but not fully. I suppose his downfall was the second time he said, "I am not sure about that, that is one of the things I always look up in the statute." He pretty much hung himself out to dry, "If you use the statute why can't we?" So he decided he would provide the statutes along the exam.

The circumstances changed, so I adjusted. I did not change my day-to-day routine, but knowing that the statutes would be provided did give slight effect to my study habits. I started listing the statute section in my notes, since it became obvious that with the statute provided, the Prof. would expect the statute with the answer.

However, the whining did not end. The 10 people that actually talk in class, moved on to complaining about how the exam was not open book. It was highly annoying, but thankfully, I had Free Cell to distract me. Then last week, the Prof. announced that it would indeed be open book and open notes. He justified it by saying that another Prof. had told him something which he found to be pertinent and insightful, and overruled his line of thinking. The entire class breathed a sigh of relief, except for me, as I was locked into an intense game of Rong.

I really have no preference as to whether the exam is open or closed book. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. The one thing I do know for sure is that the preparation for an open book exam is more helpful than actually having the materials in the exam with you. Open note during the exam is good because you can double check your line of thinking and it is bad because you cannot rely on the notes, and if you do, you will run out of time.

Regardless, I thought that this was the end of the whining. They got their open notes, what more could they want? Turns out, they expect the world to bend to their whim.

To put the remainder of this post in context, there is a good chance that we will not cover in class all the material that we are responsible for. The Prof. graciously offered to hold two additional classes, the week before finals, one to cover the remaining material and one as a review session. I thought this was a great idea for several reasons. First, even though I play a lot of standard MS offered games in class, I usually end up with about a page and half of typed notes which I use to supplement my briefs. After all, you never know when the Prof. is going to comment on something that is not clear from the case. Also, I never take notes on the note material or introduction sections, so if the Prof. mentions something from there in class, I throw it in my notes, and mentally mark that as something I need to know. If the Prof. does not address something in the note material, I shit out all that information at the earliest possible opportunity.

So faced with the possibility of having to know material that would not be covered in class, someone posted a message similar to this on the class message board (it was a little more wordy, but this is how I interpreted it):

"Thanks for offering extra classes, but I think that situation in which they are offered the week before finals is not conducive to educating us on the material."

A few people posted offering their support for his position. As a matter of law, I found this position to be ridiculous. If the Prof. is offering to hold additional classes, who am I to stand in his way? If the Prof. is willing to hold a review session, why would I stand in his way? At first blush, I figured this post was saying that we did not need the extra classes. After thinking about it for a minute, I thought that maybe he was asking the Prof. to make us not responsible for the material we would not cover in class. I dismissed this though, after all, how much blood can you get from a stone? And, was it really necessary to post this, after all, if someone said, "Here is ten dollars," I would take it.

I reasoned that my original impression was the correct one, and posted this (paraphrased):

"If we will be responsible for all of this material, I think that class sessions would be beneficial. For those that think it is too much work to prepare for an additional two classes, there is an easy way to rectify this, by holding the extra classes after the last originally scheduled class."

Based on the previous post, I thought that this was a well-reasoned response. Turns out, I was wrong. The original poster responded by saying:

"I was hoping to convince the Prof. to take the uncovered material off the exam. After all, I will read the remainder anyway because I am interested in it."

A few other people typed out their agreement with him, and I was left as the lone ranger, standing for my belief that the Prof. should make us responsible for whatever he wants to make us responsible for. So even though I wanted to rip into this guy for whining his ass off, and those that responded to him, I held my tongue, compromised my beliefs, and posted a generic response about not understanding his intent, even though I did, but dismissed it because it was stupid to post something like that on the class message board.

Anyway, the Prof. said that he would not reduce the amount of material we were responsible for, and I am confident that I will blow everyone away on the exam. As for my Reputation, fuck that, hopefully I will transfer to a good school over the summer.

1 comment:

lawschoolrules said...

First, still do not care if an exam is open or closed book. It does not matter to me.

Second, I still hate whiners. And yes, they still exist in the 2L year.

Third, no one ever mentioned my lone ranger stance to me, but by now they all know that I am a nerd anyway.

Fourth, I did not transfer. Probably should have, but I really wanted two years of law review (even though I nearly quit for next year a couple of times).

Finally, my overall impression of this entry is my amazement that I actually cared about this. And for those that care, I did blow everyone away on the exam, except for one girl (two people ended up with the best grade in the class. It was a little odd).