Just Before Noon


By 11AM all I’d done to study for my ECE 456 (Databases) midterm was stare morosely at a list of assigned questions. Numbering in the 100s, Professor Ajit Singh had prefaced the entire mess with a single comment.

You should at least try to do a ‘reasonable’ number of problems…which will avoid any surprises on the exams.

I wonder if professors remember how it was like to be a student.

There are two paths one can take when faced with such a daunting obstacle.  You can rely on iron self-discipline, focus and self-motivation, or you can throw up your hands in surrender to the futility of the task and the aggravation of having to study for such an uninspiring subject on what’s ostensibly a holiday.  Being fresh out of iron self-discipline and coming off a fairly rough two-week stretch prior to IRC/IRS I surrendered.

Although the Civilization IV box next to my laptop tempts me, I’m scared of the reprecussions should I start a game now, just before my last midterm.  Visions of frittering away my pre-midterm study days and dropping 20% swim before my eyes and I decide, instead, to think of places I’d rather be, things I’d rather do.  That at least is a safe, if escapist, topic.  I’m struck by how guilty I feel.  But also how unusual it is for me to sit, read a novel or imagine.  I occupy myself reading facts, news and arguments, the shorter the article the better, all the easier to squeeze it into those few in-between minutes.  Longer, more involved works – novels, essays or multi-page op-eds, those demand a substantial time committment, I hesitate over.  I compromise, ignore or skim-read.  And there is no satisfaction.

… My ECE 456 questions haven’t disappeared, the list hasn’t shed any questions and my midterm is an hour closer.

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