It’s already four weeks into the spring semester and the new semester bloom is off the rose. That’s right, the honeymoon phase is over; syllabus week is long behind us. In its place looms the first real hurdle of the semester: midterms. Exams are a part of college life, and it’s just a fact that some students are going to be more prepared for them than others. But some students, like UW-Madison junior, Keith Reynolds, seem to be doomed from the start.
“I was actually pretty optimistic about my chemistry exam for a change,” explained Reynolds. “I studied the night before with note cards and everything. But when I got the exam and looked at the front cover, I realized that there was something important I had forgotten to learn: my TA’s name.”
Unable to fill out his TA’s name and section on the front of the exam, Reynolds was forced to improvise. He said, “I considered flagging my TA down and just asking him what his name is, but I didn’t have the heart. I had already visited him during his office hours, so it was too late to admit that I didn’t even know his name. I couldn’t stand the awkwardness. Instead I just wrote a big cursive squiggle and prayed that it ended up in the right place to get graded.”
Two weeks later, in his chemistry discussion, Keith found out that his prayers had not been answered. “My TA (still don’t know his name) put all of the graded exams on a table and told everyone to come up and grab theirs,” said Keith. “I guess they weren’t able to decipher the abstract markings I made on the front of my exam and just threw it out. I couldn’t tell my TA what had happened though. I was already too committed to my decision to just back out now. So while my classmates reviewed their exams for the next half hour, I just pretended to read my syllabus. And no, his name wasn’t anywhere on there.”
Name issues aside, Keith is remaining optimistic about the rest of the semester. “I’m keeping up with my work and I’m learning a lot,” he said. “And for what it’s worth, I do think that my TA is actually a pretty cool dude. I just have no idea who he is. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure out what his name is soon. Preferably before the final.”