On Final Exams (guest post)

I loved this post by senior Alex F. so much that I decided to share it here:

Today I had the greatest final exam of my life. I’m not kidding.

The end of the semester is always a strange experience for me. It marks another eighth of my high school career completed. For us seniors, it marks our initiation into second-semester-seniorhood. First semester finishes up with a week of studying and a week of testing. There are many things about final exams that I don’t love: the stressed students, the busy teachers, the frustration of forgetting a detail I know I knew, the crowded library and the chilly weather. It’s altogether hectic. But at the same time, I’m always exuberantly proud of the amazing quantity of knowledge I’ve gained in the previous five months. (I’m a nerd. Maybe you can tell?) We have collectively and collaboratively achieved so much in one semester. I can’t help but look back at it all every once in a while. I look back and smile.

Quick Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong: final exams are not the end of the world. Not even close. Despite their busyness, teachers are so caring and helpful. Our Learning Center specialists have their doors wide open. AND my math teacher brought us chocolate on the day of our exam.

Finals are never bad. They’re serious. They’re two hours. They make you think. Usually I find them interesting, maybe exciting, maybe a little stressful, but overall absolutely fine. I wouldn’t even call them “a necessary evil,” as some teachers do. And today I had a fun final. F-U-N.

Mr. Tucker, my American Government teacher, said it would be fun. I didn’t believe him. But he was so right. Half my test was a guided essay of comparing and evaluating the many levers of power in the political system. I got to consider the chair of a Senate committee in comparison to the president of a major corporation in comparison to a political consultant in comparison to a news commentator in comparison to a militant activist in comparison to a career bureaucrat… I could spend hours discussing and debating the web of power! Oh the checks and balances!

It was awesome. Since I’m a senior, a number of my classes are semester-long electives. Including American Government class. As you might guess, I’m sad that it’s over. I went into that class with miniscule knowledge of the politics and current events. I signed up because I love American history and was curious. But now I understand! I read and understand the newspaper. I’m eighteen, registered and ready to vote! I can’t wait until the June elections!

Government class ended in the best possible way. And you know what? Next semester I’m enrolled in Mr. Wilson’s history elective on modern American history. I can hardly wait!

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