Thursday night was terrible. Went to sleep in time for 7 hours of sleep but they were icky. Woke up for more revision with CJ over MSN. Eventually we had no idea what to do and read random environmental articles on the Guardian website. I walked across Palmer Park crying to Defying Gravity.
Got to HumSS for my exam and found Georgie (ex-housemate Juliette's friend) there; I gave her my teddy bear to hug as she crammed last-minute for her last exam. Ex-housemate Matt was also there so he joined us. The invigilator complimented my rainbow skirt. "You look like a walking rainbow!" "Yes, I thought I would be colourful today to make me feel better!"
Got into the exam room and the invigilator man asked for my name. "Oh? I...oh, I don't see you down here on my list." I thought, Oh for the love of trees, not this again! But he found me - blaming his glasses - and had me sit down. I had remembered to bring Rupert, my little plastic squid, but not my student ID card; the invigilator asked where it was. I apologised and told him it was in my purse. He told me he would go get it; I was frazzled enough to think he meant the card. I stuttered, "It's, erm, it's in my wallet?" He asked which purse. "Oh! Sorry. The...uh...the one with the teddy bear head sticking out of it..." "Well isn't that colourful!" He grabbed my purse. "And why don't you have it with you at your desk?" "I didn't think we were allowed..." The other invigilator laughed and commented, "Oh, surely here up front!" The male invigilator saw the empty desk next to me (in the corner) and said, "Or right here! Nice and colourful bear here - it'll brighten the room for everyone. Just none of you steal this little one or the invigilators will be at you for the kill!" The student card went on my desk; Queen Shelley Sunshine Attiya Latifa the Radioactive Psychedelic Careless Bear (my teddy bear) went on the desk next to me and sat there smiling. I turned to Matt, who was sitting behind me, and murmured, "Glad to see I haven't changed too much then, eh?" He laughed.
The exam is much more peaceful with the full 10 minutes before the exam in which we can see the exam paper but can't write anything yet; I didn't have that for the first exam because of the seat mix-up. This time I read them, shook my head at Ross Cameron and held onto Rupert. At least this time I knew my questions as soon as I read them. I reminded myself that I was supposed to be opinionated in this exam (especially in the critical sense), so I attempted to slip into the character of a cantankerous, persnickety old woman with a few too many cats and nieces/nephews. I decided I wasn't going to take this too seriously.
1. Many argue that the current Western lifestyle is not sustainable and that we over-exploit natural resources. For a SINGLE natural resource of your choice and through the use of examples, comment on whether this is true. Discuss what measures Western society may need to adopt to conserve this resource.
I decided then that ecologists are trained in three important measures: 1) losing their attention spans (to insects, mammals, lichen, birds, whatever natural thing is nearby...); 2) hugging trees; and 3) whinging about fossil fuel use while preaching about alternative energy sources. I nodded, gave myself a "go team go!" and started outlining. Managed to use a sub-heading, which made me happy. Now that I think back on it I wasn't strict enough in my examples (but I didn't have precise facts on fossil fuel use or alternative energy statistics so I couldn't include what I didn't know) and focused more on fixing the problem, but I did my best and my conclusion was very firm and opinionated - not typical of me. I can firmly say I tried my best. Also, because I wasn't super stressed this time, my writing was better. When I'm not stressed I tend to include humour in my essays - often cynical/sarcastic - which may not be great, but it's a general indication that I'm more relaxed and more in tune with my brain. The essays tend to be better that way. Also got to include information from two Guardian articles I had read.
Outlined my second essay before I took my break this time - and was finished with that before the halfway mark, so I knew I was doing well. Took a loo break and wandered the halls, stretching occasionally. Asked the male invigilator how one picks up the job. He laughed. "You have to be either a sadist or a masochist." He explained he'd been working at the university since the 70s and now invigilated. "I've seen it. You name it - or can't name it - and I've seen it. Everything." I didn't doubt it. Though he seemed pretty surprised by the teddy bear, so I suppose that's an achievement? (;
2. A new European Directive indicates that Member States are obliged to consider re-introducing wildlife species that have become 'locally extinct' in the last 500 years. For the North-West Highlands of Scotland this means the possibility of reintroducing the wolf, Canis lupus lupus (a species identified as 'under threat' throughout Europe). You have been asked to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed introduction by the Scottish Government. Discuss what you consider to be the potential benefits and disadvantages of the proposal and, based on these, what recommendations you would make to the Scottish Government.
Included information from another Guardian article that fit it perfectly (possible lifting of the hunting protection legislation on grey wolves in the Rocky states) and the old case study of wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and the trophic cascade that brought back the beavers (wolves --> deers afraid to graze by river shores --> more vegetation --> filtered/clean water --> appropriate habitat to beavers --> indication of improved water corridors). Thank you, Mr. Lee and high school natural resources; I'm glad I didn't sleep through that one class lesson... *Laughs.* (And thank goodness it wasn't taught in a film or I would have been out like a light. Mr. Lee and his films!) I finished at 4, without even using the 10 minute add-on from my break. Not perfect essays - or anywhere close - but the best I could do and without having a panic attack. Thank you ecological waffling!
Looked at myself in the loo mirror and did a double-take as I realised I was the woman I had aspired to be at 14: long brown hair, big black boots, forest eyes, whimsical and odd. She wouldn't believe I would become so prone to school anxiety. Outside to play ukulele under a tree again. I miffed a robin a bit but was smiling. Hung out with Tanya-from-Rock-Society in the Hub when I saw the Rock Society gathered there; I pretended to be part of their committee. Tanya has two exams Wednesday too. I remarked, "Blarg, stupid hump day." "Hump day?" "Yes, Wednesday is in the middle of the week - you have to get over the hump. Hence, hump day...and why we're getting screwed." She died laughing. We chatted a bit out in the hall and I affected offence at her statement ("but you seem to like being crazy--" "excuse me! I don't like being crazy - eccentric, maybe..." "Eccentric. There we go.") and we hugged, Tanya and Omer and me. Jacque called and we met up at Mojo's for drinks so I sat outside sipping coke and playing ukulele as the others drank Pimms.
At one point there was a spider and the boys (Jacque and I were the only girls there) shuffled round to avoid it. One lifted the pitcher but didn't have it in him to bring his arm close enough to the spider as to squash it. Jacque called out "oh, why are you such girls?!" I looked up from my ukulele playing and saw the little spider. "Excuse me, but I am an ecologist," I corrected. She took this to mean I wouldn't accept the spider's death and the men kept shuffling away from it. I laughed, took out my exam question paper and persuaded the spider onto it. When I returned from releasing the spider I was hailed as a hero; I laughed some more. Eventually we made our ways inside and ordered food. Later yet, off to HumSS again for anime society.
HumSS is a mystery! Silly humanities. It's more confusing than agriculture, which has an upper and lower version of each floor. I inspected the map. "Jacque? Are the two arms of HumSS really uneven? This one's straight and this one's bent." I looked closer. "Of course the English Language and Literature is the crooked one!" Anime society was fun and once more reminded me of old selves. Ken (socially awkward; no one really likes him, alas) walked with us all as we walked to the car park. I must have made some sort of comment for he said, "I've always wanted a cane. How do I end up with a cane?" I grinned at him. "Well, I'd suggest severely fracturing your leg - I've found that a marvellous technique." Jacque nearly offered to help him in this; I wasn't going to take it so far. Sam and Judy (from the society) drove us home.
Home to watch Grey's. Wasn't too impressed. Felt nice to go to sleep without an alarm. Not the most peaceful sleep, but at least I was able to fall asleep with just my nightly singing - and I woke without feeling ill, which was lovely. Today has been slow and I haven't felt fantastic, more exhausted and recovering. Was unable to revise. I seldom hit my brain's threshold of "OH MY GOODNESS I CANNOT TAKE ANYMORE" so I'm always a little disappointed when I do. Especially when it's four days before my two worst exams... =[ Looks like tomorrow I'll just have to be super productive. At least I caught up on LJ today; that always makes me feel a bit better about life. Let's see how long it lasts.
2/7 done. Two weeks from now I'll be free. So ends my unintended day of relaxation.
"Listen, why don't you save yourself years of sexual ambiguity and get fitted for a pair of Doc Martens and a plaid flannel shirt?"
[Stewie; Family Guy]