What Happened When I Slept Through My Final

What Happened When I Slept Through My Final

There is nothing like waking up from a nap to realize you received a zero on your final and an F in the class.
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For students, finals are inevitable. At the end of the semester, students have to put studying first in order to pass their classes. Finals mean less fun, less sleep, less exercise, and less quality of life. Taking a final is the act of putting what you know on the line for your grade. If you do not know anything, you will likely get another chance the next semester. That is because you failed and have to take the class again.

I knew this my entire five-year college tenure. This made when I missed my final last week even more shocking.

Allow me to preface this stressful tale by first stating that I am a damn good student. I chose to be an English major in 2012, and since then, I have not seen anything lower than a B on my report card. A year ago I joined the Humanities' Honors Society, and as we speak, I am writing a thesis for that program as well as another on-campus program. Failure has never been an option for me.

However when I woke up Wednesday to a text from a loyal classmate asking where the hell I was, I had already clocked in a zero for my final. The truth of me sleeping through my final reflects bad upon me. Simply put, I thought my final was on Friday of that week. That assumption caused me a lot of distress. I got up from my nap after receiving that text to check on how late I was to attend my final. Unfortunately, I had missed all but thirty minutes of the allotted time. Also unfortunate is the fact that I live thirty minutes away from campus.

I sprung into action and off of the couch. As I threw on whatever clothes I had on the floor, I shouted my favorite courses. I checked the syllabus, and to my dismay, listed on it was the correct final time. I threw those papers on the ground and stormed out. I was not even prepared with the scantron paper required to record the final answers on. I sped out of the driveway and made it about halfway to the freeway before I pulled over.

I knew that I would miss my professor on campus, so speeding there was a waste of time. I drove back home and wrote the most pitiful email I have ever composed. It expressed my fears of failing, my good record, my honors status, my hopes of graduating next semester, and how sick I was from the realization that I was on track to fail that class. All I could do after sending the email was wait and sulk.

Luckily, my parents were sympathetic to my situation. They sat down and talked with me as I expressed my awful feelings about the past school year. Talking about how I felt helped. Also, a glass of special eggnog took the edge off. I laid on the couch and watched The Santa Claus as the night drew to a close. Just as I was getting ready for bed, I checked my email and saw a response from my professor. To my delight, the email stated that I could retake the final exam, but that I should be eternally grateful for the second chance.

I replied to say thanks to my professor, and I began the last preparations for the test. Between reading the email and the next day, I put several hours into pouring over my notes and preparing for the test. That day, I left home early to pick up a scantron and make it to the room on time. I even had two exams that day, but I only really studied for the one I missed. (Mi otra examen fue en español, pero yo recibi una A por mi nota en eso.)

I went to the instructor's class early to ensure everything went smoothly. This really ensured that I could sit nervously and fidget. When my professor came in minutes later, I received the biggest look of "happy you could make it, Mr. Breuer." After handing out everyone else their final, the professor handed me my separate final that ensured if I had the answers from the previous testing session I still could not cheat.

Luckily, it appeared my studying paid off. In less than thirty minutes, I was out of class. Before I left, I made sure to make my professor's time worthwhile. On the way to my finals, I stopped by See's Candy and picked up a twenty dollar box of chocolates. I gave these to my professor with my completed final. Chocolate bribery can get you far.

Both the studying and the bribery paid off because I received an email the next day from my professor about my grade. The email told me I got a B on the final and an A on one of our final projects. That was the best news I could get to put a cap on a semester of hard work.

Missing a final taught me what is important. For five years, my number one priority has been getting good grades. Missing a final and receiving an F would ruin the plan of my last five years. In the time between finding out I missed my final and receiving an email from my professor telling me I could make it up, I had a time of grief and reconciliation. I knew I was in for big trouble with a failing grade. I would not graduate on time, and I would lose my honors status. I had to sort these things out in order to be at peace with myself. I came to the realization with the help of my parents and a few drinks that life was not over if I messed up once in a silly class.

Although failing would not have looked good, it would not make me a failure. I am still the guy who aced enough classes and achieved himself into an honor program. Even if I lost my high status from a simple mistake, I would still be that person inside. Five years from missing the final, I would not remember it in the slightest. I had this feeling when I received the email from my professor, and that made my second chance much better.

It was the second chance my professor gave me that allowed me to end my semester on a high note. Although I am at peace with myself, by taking on extra work to allow me to pass shows me how much my professor cares about the students in class. Missing my final has given me some sort of appreciation for second chances and the kindness of others. I vow to never miss another final, and I also vow to appreciate when people help me or give me a chance out of the kindness of their heart. Thank you, Professor.

Cover Image Credit: Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal: “Home Alone” with Live Orchestra at Chrysler Hall

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The College Experience

A series telling the true experiences of modern day college students.

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Everyone tells you to prepare for the best years of your life.

They tell you to prepare for all of the new challenges and new opportunities.

They say that you will meet your future people in college.

What they don't tell you is how much it will hurt.

Seeing old friends disappear because you are no longer home.

Watching your grades fall because the class is too difficult to pass.

Hearing and witnessing your family struggle and you aren't able to be with them.

Seeing all of the adventures that others are going on while you are stuck in your dorm room with the same stack of papers you have been trying to finish for three days now.

They don't tell you how difficult the transition will be.

They especially don't tell you how hard it is to live with someone.

The best of friends can live together and then grow to hate each other.

Complete strangers will move in and never speak.

You'll find friends that are simply just your "writing friend" or "band friend".

Many of the labels from high school can sometimes stick around.

If you're not out drinking or clubbing, then people think you don't have a life.

College is great, but don't think that it will be easy.

You have to make things easy in order for things to happen.

You can't just go around doing whatever and expect things to work out.

It takes time and it takes commitment to succeed in life, and in college.

The best way to deal with it all, find someone!

Find someone that you can get coffee with and watch sports with.

Find someone to eat dinner and lunch with.

Find someone to study religion and math before the next test.

Find someone!

Find your someone, a friend or someone special, to help you make it through everything that life throws at you.

If I had that someone I might have been better off my first year.

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