final exams

Our final exams of the first semester officially started on Wednesday, January 10. Chinese History kicked my ass that day. Not so much because it was a difficult exam, but more so because I didn’t really study. I failed this subject during my midterms, I scored 51 out of 100. During that time I worked a lot, so it left little to no time for studying. Okay, that’s a big fat lie. The truth is, I just couldn’t get myself to sit down with the book and read it.

This time around, I did open the book, read a few pages. I even managed to answer a few questions. Most teachers have this irritating habit of walking past our desks during the exams. For some reason, they like to read what we are writing. It makes me more nervous, especially during my History exam. Why? Well… because I half-assed it, got things mixed up, so I made up my own version of Chinese history. I got names, places, and dates mixed up… so I decided to just write something. The teacher keeps telling us, “同学们,你们要多写一些。如果你们不写的话,我就不能给你们加分,没办法。” What he’s saying, is that if he gives us a space to write an answer, we need to fill that space up as much as possible. Just write, write, write, write! “Writing something is better than writing nothing!” I know I rewrote the world’s most interesting and oldest history, but I made sure to write how amazing and great it was to be to in a country that’s quickly becoming the universe’s biggest economy. “China is so great, beautiful and amazing!” Can’t recall how many times I wrote that, hope my teacher thinks it’s sincere, LOL!

Would you believe me if I told you that, just to fill up the space like the teacher told us, I actually wrote: “Dear Teacher, please forgive me for not studying as hard as I should have. I remember reading about this subject on page 36, but I can’t recall the exact details. Do I at least get points for getting the page right?”

Day two of my final exams was Chinese Writing. Although my teacher likes my essays, it kind of kicked my ass, as well.

I have no idea why the teacher didn’t just let us write an essay for our final exams. If that were the case, I am CERTAIN I would have scored 95 0ut of 100. That’s my usual score. Yes, our homework gets graded. My lowest (homework) score is 85, and that was only once. I was too lazy to write 600 words, so I wrote 450. My teacher was very concerned. “Phoenix, what happened to you? Were you not feeling well? How come you only scored 85? Is everything OK?” FYI, there is this “you-need-to-be-the-best” mentality here in China. Maybe because there are more than a billion of them… but it also explains their fast growth. Scores less than 90 are considered BAD!

“Phoenix, you need to socre better for you final exam, because you only scored 75 out of 100 for you Business Chinese midterm. Study, study, study!”

Those were the words of my Business Chinese teacher. I know I could have scored more, but again, I also didn’t study all that much. I just read the vocabulary ten minutes before the exam. You’re wondering why I had so little time to study, didn’t you? Well, since I have to eat and drink every day, I need to work. During that time, I’d just been given my second Spanish class. Busy bee! My Business Chinese exam is next Thursday, so I have already started reviewing. I want to score 95 or higher.

Today’s final exam was an open book exam. All of my classmates were EXCITED about this, I was the only one thinking, “OH FUCK! WHYYY?!”

I learned the hard way that an open book exam is not easy! You actually have to know where to look. You’d think the teacher would go easy on us, right? My ass! I had my geography book, information from the Internet (thanks, Baidu! :)), and some information the teacher gave us. Guess what? There were still some questions I couldn’t answer.

During the exam, all I could think about is how much I wanted to say to my teacher, “Teacher, it would have been better if you had just taken the biggest truck you can find, and shoved it right up my ass… really.” Aw well… he was amazed by my notes and how pretty I write the Chinese characters. I hope he takes that into account when he grades my paper.