Whoa! A couple of intense days to say the least!! At least I'm hoping things will be back to normal for a while now! :)
I studied like an idiot for the exam, but still didn't feel great about it! Granted, oral exams creep me out, but I really did not feel at all prepared enough!
I don't know what it's like for other University students, but I think the whole "oral exams"-thing is rather unusual in Sweden at least.
Basically, for my course (The Old Testament with Biblical Hebrew), the deal is this: I agree with a professor ('my' professor also happens to be the Head of the Faculty *gulp*) on a subject I want to study, we agree on a list of literature and about 10 pages of Hebrew text - and set a date for an oral exam. Come the day, I get to read and translate (and analyze) part of the Hebrew text, as well as answer questions and/or discuss the literature, with the professor.
From what I know, most people aren't happy about oral exams - well, most students, that is! :) I think the teachers and professor like it quite a lot, as it does require less work for them!* lol*
For someone with a background of social phobia, oral exams are NOT funny at all - but fact of the matter is, this was my fourth, and while the results have varied, I have not failed, or needed to to return for a further exam, on any of them.
I was pretty freaked out yesterday, I had slept about 2½ hours, and was at the Department when the library opened at 9. Sat in on the Old Testament lecture 10.15-11 and kept studying after that. And at 2 o'clock it was time.
Adding to my anxiety was the fact that I have NEVER taken an exam for this professor before - and I really don't like starting it off with an oral exam ... when I don't know at all how he will do it, what level he will be at etc. I went up there, and we were dealing with the text part first ... It soon became clear I was going to have to read the Hebrew text as well as translate it - and I haven't read Hebrew out loud for almost a year! *yikes!* The professor was really calm and laid back about the whole thing - I guess he could sense I was totally panicky! :) - but I got started ... I didn't get too much text, lucky me, we went through Ecc. 6:1-3, but the verses were rather long. It felt ... "okay", though not good. I need to work on my vocaulary for starters, and I find it difficult to keep really long sentences in my head (without writing them down) and making any kind of sense of them) ... but at least it wasn't a complete disaster.
Then we moved onto the literature-part of it. I figured that would be a little bit easier, as it felt like it could be more of a conversation/discussion, even though I would do most of the talking and give most of the more specific information. The first thing that happened was:
The professor said that now, having read Ecclesiastes, and this particular part, as well as literature concerning not only Ecc. but also other literature close to it - how would I present Eccleasiates - if I, say, were giving a lecture on a basic level course?!?
Eh ... huh?!?!
Granted, I'm not completely alien to the idea of giving lectuers and teaching, but I most certainly was NOT expecting it in this situation! Still, things were very calm (from the professor's side!!), he told me to take my time etc. I got started talking, but I felt that he had to step in and "guide" me rather a lot ... asking questions to lead me in the right direction! And that didn't feel great ...
At one point, I just made such a horrible fool of myself - it was terribly embarrasing! He asked me a question, and I couldn't find the answer, but it was rather tricky. He kept "going around it", trying to find another way for me to come up with the answer - and all of a sudden, my brain just shut down. I couldn't find the answer to ANYTHING, in the end it was stupid questions, a 7th grader could have answered it (well, almost anyway) ... that felt pretty horrible.
But to tell the truth, horrible in a good way ... (yes, I'm tired, so please be patient)!
It did feel stupid and I did feel embarrased - but not at all in a way I would have felt say 2 years ago!
Two years ago, I would have dived into the depression pool over something like this, thinking that I made the worse possible impression by being so extremely stupid and feeling like I wouldn't be able to do anything at all in my entire life.
Now I do feel stupid, yes absolutely because it was such a basic question - but I also know that I really do know the answer, and that I just somehow got completely blocked out ... anybody can do it in any situation (ironically enough, after the exam, we discussed my next course, the professor had a book in mind, but couldn't for the life of him recall the name of the author, no matter how hard he tried! *lol*) - which means that even though it was embarrasing, I feel completely okay with it!
We had other stuff to talk about two, my upcoming course as well as my essays ... and after about 45 minutes, the professor said we should conclude the exam.
I felt ... "okay" (again!), and hoped I would have passed, it kind of felt like I would have passed. The professor said: "Well, I'll have to congratulate you ..." - and my heart raced: that had to mean I had passed, right?!?" - "... to a VG" (which is the "high" of the two grades we have (not counting the failing grade)!
What?!?! How?!?! Why?!?!?! What??????
Looking back to how these first 4-5 weeks of the semester have been, I would never in my life have figured I'd get VG!! No way!! I didn't think I would fail - first of all, it's actually hard to fail on an oral exam (if you have a decent professor/teacher), because the can work their way around your problems, find new ways to approach things etc. so I pretty much hoped I'd pass, and get a G, but no way I thought I'd get VG!
So ... YAY!!!
Today I went to the OT-lecture, spent some time in the library first, checking out a few books for my next course, and after the lecture we had a mentor meeting! I find it difficult to be in control of the meeting - we often end up with some specific question, and while it is good to address their questions, I do have an agenda and a plan, and I kind of feel I should follow it. But I'm also feeling that I get more secure for every meeting we have, and I also think the meetings are working out better and better now ... which is really great!
Have to say I feel thrilled right now - the last two days everything has just turned out wonderful! I'm not saying it'll last forever, because I know it won't, but I'm really happy because I think I have developed a way of actually enjoying those times when they come - seizing the moment - *~* Carpe Diem! *~* - and I think it's important to be able to that! I think it will help you when times get tougher ...
So, now I'm hopefully back on track, things seem to work out now, provided nothing unforseen happens, so I'm hoping to be able to keep this blog - and my other blogs - alive and kicking, and also catch up on other internet activity where I've been slacking now!
Take care guys!