Tag Archives: exams

At the end of term

What are you doing at the end of Winter term 2012?

Here is what some of us are doing. Professors are marking final essays and other projects. As well as attending many, many meetings. And setting exams.  And writing conference papers.

Graduate students are handing in chapters of theses and dissertations or writing lengthy essays for courses. Or they are building digital projects. Or they are pulling together proposals, applications, bibliographies. And writing conference papers.

Undergraduates are swotting for and writing exams.

Oh, how I remember final exams. The panic when you turn over the examination paper. The relief when words start to come. The aching hand from much frenzied writing (when, oh when, will students be  able to write exams on computers?). The frantic clock watching. The great sense of release when it is over. The second-guessing that quickly follows. As a professor who invigilates exams I am often overcome with a profound feeling of (well, almost) love for my students when they are writing exams. It’s the last time we’ll gather together in one place. Many of the students I’ll never see again. I can almost see their brains working. And I want to support and help and encourage them. It’s a bittersweet sense of an ending.

Good luck everyone with all of your end-of-term work!

Alumni and friends, what do you remember about how the end of term feels? Please tell us.

Winding down

It’s the last day of classes. Sigh.

What this means for most English professors is a lot of essay marking, exams to design and then to mark, and next term’s courses to prepare. Syllabi, courseware packages, items on reserve, new lectures to write or old lectures to refresh. There are meetings. Lots of meetings, both in the department and in various other academic and governance venues. For me, and no doubt for others too, there are reference letters to write, essays submitted to scholarly journals to vet, perhaps a book manuscript to evaluate for a press, or a published book to review, or a tenure and promotion case to evaluate. And, of course, all sorts of research related activities, which really never stop.

For students the end of term brings some welcome relief–seminars are done! essays are done! classes are done! But also exam preparation and exam writing. As for graduate students, some have just written area exams and most are completing term papers or other projects. Some are writing dissertation chapters and preparing for postdoctoral fellowships or jobs.  Soon, though, most student will be heading home for the holidays (even if KW is already home). And I sincerely hope that all students enjoy some downtime. Read something that is NOT related to your school work. Go to a movie. Get outside and away from your computer.

Seriously. We all need to stop working at least for a while.

And there will be parties. Google “Academic Christmas party” and this is what you can find!

Celebrating the season in 1850

This weekend we’ll be gathering as a department to enjoy some wassail or other seasonal beverages and to enjoy each others’ company. The annual Christmas party is always a jolly affair, and we’re lucky to have one of our colleagues host it in her lovely home.

Um, what’ll I wear? What are you going to be wearing at your Christmas party? Glitter or wool? frock or jeans? silk shirt or t-shirt?