Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Night Before Finals

This week's "Quarked" marked the first occasion where my editor actually cursed at me. Luckily her "good Lord, Yvette!" was followed by a "thanks for making my day," so I guess I still get to write my column next semester.

The reason for the curse was because I decided to get into the holiday spirit a bit and write a poem commemorating the most important event in December- final exams! And because I am proud of the result and suspect I won't be writing anything new here for awhile, here is the unabridged version of a poem I've titled "The Night Before Finals." [Note for those not from Case: "SIs" are "Student Instructors," aka undergraduate TAs.] Enjoy!

The Night Before Finals
By Yvette Cendes

T’was the night before finals
And all through the dorm
Crazed cramming and panic
Was quite the norm.

The students were restless
And none touched their beds
While theorems and formulas
Danced in their heads.

With textbook in hand
And a bright pink highlighter
I had settled down
For another all-nighter.

Then outside my room
There arose a great clatter,
I raced to the door
To see what was the matter.

And who do you think
Appeared before my eyes
But a wizened old Prof
And a bunch of SIs!

From his terrible wardrobe
And long, unkept beard
I knew right away
This was gonna be weird.

“I’m the Prof of Tests Future!”
He said with a shout,
“I’m the one who writes finals
You’re so scared about!

“On English! On Physics!
On Psychology!
On O-Chem! On German!
On Astronomy!

“I choose from the topics
You’ve learned of all fall,
And mark away, mark away,
Mark away, mark away all!”

I stared at the Prof
With incomprehension
And thought a few things
Which here I won’t mention.

“You’re from the wrong story!”
I said with a wail,
“Isn’t this from Dickens’
A Christmas Tale?

“Besides which, dear sir,
Though try as I might,
I don’t know why you’re here
So late, late at night.”

Said he, “I showed up
To give some advice.
Listen closely now
So I don’t give it twice:

“Though you might want to fret
And get all stressed out
That’s not what exams
Should be all about.

“So don’t be a wreck!
Don’t get over-stressed!
Study hard as always
And just do your best!”

I looked at the Prof
And then looked at my text,
If I slept a few hours
I’d be much less perplexed…

Plus I’ve advice of my own
That I have to admit:
When you start to see visions
Then it’s time to quit.

So I waved to the Prof
And then closed the door
I ducked under covers
And started to snore.

And I heard someone say
As I started my rest:
“Happy finals to all,
And to all a good test!”