By Jantsen McBride
I can finally take a deep breath and relax! Today was the day I’ve been dreading for the last two weeks… finals day. As if last exams aren’t bad enough, try taking them in a different country where the learning and teaching styles differ drastically. Like I mentioned in an earlier entry, exams in England are essay based and are often the majority of your grade for the class. There is no “best guess” when all else fails — you either know your stuff or you don’t. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach thinking, “Alright, in three hours this will all be over.” Positive thinking, I know. After a few desperate prayers, it was time to head to the building I would be taking my test in. I sat outside frantically looking over my notes until it was time to go in. Each of the 10 American science students was assigned a number and seat in the room. At Lancaster Uni, grading is anonymous. Your name is covered and the essays are graded by student numbers. The entire essay is written in a notebook and sealed upon completion. After sitting down in my assigned seat, I glanced down to see what I would be tested over… Markovnikov’s Rule! Yes! I knew all about this subject and had studied it extensively throughout the week. After spending 40 minutes on the subject I moved on to my next essay and was also pleasantly surprised with the subject of the question. An hour and a half later and I was handing in my completed testing booklets with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Side note: My hand was hurting pretty badly. I had gotten my nails done earlier in the week and the weird way I hold my pencil caused my nails to dig into my palm. But God is good. Thanks, Mom, for all of the extra prayers. As I walked back to my flat, I thought about all I had learned in both cell biology and organic chemistry, and how different things would have been taking these courses in the United States.
The rest of this week is smooth-coasting as I have one more exam and a lab journal to complete. It is really starting to hit me how little time I have left in England. This time next week I will be at home in Kansas City, Mo., USA. What a weird thought.