Glad the semester is over. Time for a much-needed break.
This semester’s courses definitely required less work than my undergraduate course load. With the exception of finals week, I had enough time to study, sleep, get some household chores done, and even enjoy my family. On the other hand, though, it was harder than I expected to get ‘A’s in all my classes. All our exams were multiple choice, but physiology and U.S. Health Care, in particular, had a lot of challenging, detail-oriented questions. Usually, only 5-10% of our class of 300 would get an ‘A’ or an ‘A-‘ on any given Health Care exam. Pharmaceutics was challenging both because the professor asked nitpicky questions (e.g., Moderately coarse powders pass through a no. ___ sieve, but less than 40% passes through a no. ___ seive.) and because the professor generally worded his exam questions poorly. On the other hand, biochemistry, law, and introduction to pharmaceutical care (IPC) were not too challenging; going into finals week, I had high ‘A’s in those courses.
We had a lot of exams this semester: 19 in 11 weeks plus 6 during finals week = 25 total. Far more than I ever had as an undergraduate. Since they were fairly well spaced-out, the midterms weren’t too bad, but finals week was hard. Five of the six exams were cumulative or partially cumulative. The one that wasn’t cumulative (IPC) covered half the semester and was worth 45% of our final grade.
I did have a couple little disasters that turned out alright, thankfully…
Professors make two to four different versions of each exam to deter prospective cheaters. (This measure wasn’t enough to stop the Asian kid who cheated off my physiology exam on December 2nd, though. Unfortunately for him, he got caught and will probably fail the course.) We need to fill in which test version we used on our Scantron answer forms. If we fill in the wrong bubble, 2 to 10 points are deducted from our exam score, depending on the class. I accidentally filled in test form ‘B’ rather than test form ‘C’ on the third pharmaceutics exam, so I received a 10-point deduction . Oops. As a result, I needed to get 100% on my pharmaceutics final to get an ‘A’ in the class. I thought that this would be impossible as I had not scored higher than 92% on any of the pharmaceutics exams. My new goal was to get at least 92% on the final, which would earn me an ‘A-‘ in the class.
Much to my delight, I received a congratulatory e-mail from Dr. Campbell on Friday morning:
I just wanted to say thank you for doing so well on my final exam. It was the highest of the class at ~96%. I do plan to curve the final by adding 4 points which brings your grade to ~100%. This will give you the A grade you were obviously trying to get. I wanted to send you a personal note of congratulations because of the problem with the third exam filling in the wrong exam form which I’m sure was a low note for you so just wanted you to end on a more positive note. Thanks again for doing well. A gift for us both. Happy holidays.
[Note the poor syntax. Understand why his exam questions frustrated me?]
Second, I was almost late to my Thursday morning exam due to the traffic and parking difficulties caused by the funeral of the firefighter who recently suffered fatal injuries in the line of duty. (My deepest respect to Jon Davies and the family he left here on Earth. My frustrations were obviously insignificant in comparison with the tragic loss they suffered.) When I sat down to my exam, I was shocked to realize it was a law exam and not the IPC exam I was expecting. I was counting on having an hour or two after the IPC exam to finish studying for law. Besides the pharmaceutics exam on which I had a 10-point deduction, that final was the lowest grade I’ve gotten all semester: 87%. That was actually below the class median. Thankfully, the final was only worth 20% of our final grade, and I’ll still get an ‘A’ in that class.
My last exam grade, physiology, was posted today, and I’m happy to report that it looks like I’ll be getting all ‘A’s when final grades are posted by the registrar tomorrow. (Patting myself on the back.)
Son left for Vietnam Wednesday evening and arrived late Friday evening (local time). Peter has been good for me, sleeping well at night. I’m excited to take him to Minnesota on Tuesday; I’m sure he’ll enjoy the change of scenery. I still need to finish making his Christmas present, which I want him to be able to play with while we’re traveling.
Santa visited Peter’s day care on Friday afternoon, so hopefully, Santa knows what to bring for Christmas. Peter was afraid of Santa at first, but he gradually overcame his santaphobia. After Santa gave him a pair of Elmo and Oscar figurines, he was even willing to sit in the jolly old elf’s lap long enough for me to snap this photo:
I mailed Christmas presents to my extended family members, and I picked up a few things for my parents and siblings, so the only person left to take care of is Son. Since I didn’t have time to shop before he left for Vietnam, I now have until January 4th, when Peter and I return from Minnesota, to pick out his Christmas present. I’ll be sure to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales.
I guess that’s enough for now. It’s been a month since my last post, and I feel like I should write about Thanksgiving and my birthday and the fancy toy train Son bought Peter for Christmas, but I can probably just wrap things up by pointing out that
♫ It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ♫
(finals week excluded).