When I hear news stories about grade inflation in college, I actually laugh out loud. That is just not what Tufts is about. It’s finals season, and the level of work we’re expected to do leads to a general sense of miserable ridiculousness on campus. People break records for spending 12 hours straight in Carmichael studying and for most number of coffees bought from the Rez, and I’ve seen multiple angry statuses about people eating chips too loudly in the library. I tend to study with friends so that we can have a collective mental breakdown in the face of our workload, but others purposely isolate themselves to improve productivity.
Where I am now – I’ve written one ten page paper yesterday and prepared a presentation on it a half hour later then prepped myself for a two-hour exam in Sanskrit by reviewing close to a thousand flashcards and copying out forms over and over. If anyone who doesn’t know I study Sanskrit looks at my notebook right now, it could be grounds for institutionalization. What I have left to do: a 10 page close reading of two pages of Plato’s Republic (in Ancient Greek of course), due on Monday; a translation test in Ancient Greek, also on Monday; and a 20-page paper on Modern Hinduism due Thursday. My topic covers scholarly conflicts surrounding the representation of Hinduism in America.
That was actually painful to write down. Considering everything I have to do between now and when I leave horrifies me.
There was an interesting moment during the presentation period yesterday where my professor told us she had a plan to do something else with us, but that we just seemed “done”. And we were. My favorite quotes from class at that point included “I’m having a really strange relationship with truth claims right now” and “much of Post-Modern writing is actually just intellectual masturbation”.
But as much work as I have done and have left to do, and as stressed as I am about it, I still don’t hate what I do. Because despite the insanity that is finals, I will finish this semester having written close to 100 pages, having performed hundreds of language exercises, having translated and published Ancient Greek funerary inscriptions, and having read countless pages, in English, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit. And there’s something special about awaiting final grades (released in January) knowing that I am going to deserve whatever grade I get, because I worked my ass off and wouldn’t have done anything differently.