I was a disorganized, unmotivated student my first time through in the 50s and 60s. Now back in school to finish my meteorology education I’ve found some things have changed while others are exactly the same – much to my dismay.
First the good news. As I prepared to take two tests and two quizzes late last night, I had already watched the lectures. This is something that I never would have done in the past. Why take the chance that I’d spend time watching the lecture and then… oh, a comet slams into Connecticut? That would be a wasteful use of my time.
The two tests I took were actually ‘homework tests,’ meaning I had to copy answers from my homework and answer the same exact questions on the test. This is a timed test – only one hour. Since the tests only asked for a subset of the homework, I had been skipping the formality of the homework and only answered the questions on the test within that one hour window. Most of the time it was a crunch, but it usually worked¹.
Last night there was never even a question. I sat at my desk upstairs, and later at the kitchen table, where I answered all the homework questions before opening the tests.
This was unthinkable in the past. It is tantamount to studying, something I have scrupulously avoided my entire life. I’m not even sure I could explain how one studies. It is foreign to me – sadly.
Where I haven’t changed is what bothers me. I continue to put off doing my schoolwork until the very last minute. Last night, I even brought my Hydrology textbook to work with the thought of doing the homework there. Fat chance.
When I did get home, it was only after I had eaten and watched some television that I was ready to work. A full hour and a half wasted while I considered new reasons to put off the inevitable.
Here’s the funny part. The tests weren’t that tough and went fairly quickly. I had probably spent more time and effort avoiding them.
¹ – The notable exception was the first homework test in Statistical Climatology where I had to run some very complex formulas. I didn’t even have a calculator with me, much less the spreadsheet I’d finally switch to before the course was over. I was able to get an “A” as my final grade, but this first homework test made that much more difficult.