Dec 072005
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

I don't want to sound paranoid, but I think our teachers are trying to kill us.

It started last week when, in addition to my already hefty workload, I was assigned to read another novel and write two papers at five pages each. My suspicion increased when I was handed a worksheet and an extra long lab on top of that.

Finally, one of my teachers attempted to run me down in the parking lot.

Alright, that was just a rage-filled driver careening toward his chosen parking spot. Still, he looked rather like one of my teachers. I can only assume this isn't coincidence, and is in fact symptomatic of a larger conspiracy to doom all life on earth. But in a rational, not-paranoid sort of way.

Throughout the semester, teachers like to joke about the idea that we'll start our finals early. The classic line is, "I'm sure you'll use this day without homework to get started researching for your Enormous Final Paper!" It's a classic, and we all have a solid chuckle because we are going to use that time off to do the 600 other things barking mad teachers assigned.

Every semester I swear to myself that I'll start studying early. That every day I'll devote just a half-hour to writing or reading or earning bribe money. And at every semester, I end up doing my penitent sinner spiel. O, remorse, remorse! I really mean it this time!

In my defense, even different plans couldn't cope with this latest, scary wave of work. I don't think teachers realize how vile the synergy of finals can be. The combined mass of projects, tests and essays results in a wad of stress most doctors usually reference as "cause of death."

Some doubters may claim teachers are merely trying to educate us, and that finals are a way to make sure we've absorbed what we know throughout the semester. This is the same excuse they use for homework, pop quizzes and midterms.

If education was a cake, finals are that gob of sickeningly cheap frosting on the back. You've had the sweet chocolaty bread of learning, the thin cold frosting of hard work in the middle when suddenly you're at the back part and you can't sleep for days from cramming in all that educational frosting.

In that scenario, the chef is trying to kill you, just like teachers are trying to kill you, except that most finals are less delicious than cake. Just keep in mind that in less than two weeks it'll all be over, and you'll probably still be alive even.

But seriously teachers, perhaps you could realize that your class isn't the only class we have? And that we have jobs and families? And that perhaps all the tests throughout the semester also tested our knowledge? Deadline flexibility? Extra credit? Hot cocoa for actually showing up on the last day of class?

If they offer you cocoa, take it as a gesture of goodwill. Just don't eat the cake.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior English major. His column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. He's not quite sure what he has against cake.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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