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Why Students Hate To Take Exams
Procrastination is the longest four-letter word in the dictionary. We’re all guilty of it from time to time. We set out to clean out the old inbox or clean out the garage, and lo and behold, this 70s TV miniseries starring Lee Majors and Rip Torn that we haven’t seen in years hits the tube. We are lost for the day. One thing leads to another, and pretty soon we’re knee-deep in popcorn and comfy pillows instead of knee-deep in cleaning out the garage of stuffed animals and toys we saved from the 50s .Then again, who knows, you can never be entirely sure that Hula-Hoops and Slinky’s won’t come in handy one day, right?
The tendency to procrastinate is introduced to us at an early age. We can’t be blamed. Like procrastination, Americans and Westerners in general have an excellent propensity for seeking and blaming. This is also instilled in us at an early age. The dog ate his homework. Need I say more? So who can we blame for teaching us to procrastinate and, well, blame people for our failings? The public school system, that’s who. You wouldn’t say the dog ate homework anywhere else, would you? When all else fails, blame government agencies.
So how does the public school system teach us to procrastinate? With disgusting practices like homework, long-term projects (like the dreaded science project), and yes, the universally hated final exam. Why leave today what you can still leave tomorrow? Because you can, that’s why. At its core, this is procrastination, putting off priorities to do more urgent things like watching cartoons, playing games, and listening to music. School not only allows procrastination but encourages the practice of putting things off.
How do you ask? Because by design, teachers and courses put things off for days, often months, and then reward you for rushing to do them. We are introduced to principles such as end-of-term exams, “long-term projects” and “term grades.” All the things that seem distant and distant. Harmless even, until, that is, the due date arrives, sped along as if delivered through a time machine that only crooked educators have the controls.
One day you’re watching SpongeBob SquarePants with 7 or 8 weeks until your science project is due. Your final exams are coming up and the next thing you know, it’s midnight, and you’re tracing a human heart from the dictionary and copying words like aorta that don’t make sense to you. You have to, so you can turn something in the next morning as a science project to avoid a zero (even though your intended project was to create a working volcano with exploding lava). So what does all this flurry of activity get you? A C+ for a grade, that’s what, because at least you delivered something and showed some effort. The effort in the school system is equal to the average. That’s why we have so many sellers of running shoes and burger flippers in this world. And goodness knows we need designer shoes and cholesterol in a wrap, right?
The next thing you know after you’ve “completed” your impromptu project, you’re cramming because the exams you’ve been ignoring all year are upon you and there’s no more procrastination to study for. Cramming means: “To force, press, or squeeze into insufficient space; things” or “To study hastily for an impending exam…” Only in America would we use a term that means cramming knowledge into a brain with insufficient space. when it comes to studying for an exam. So you’ve been rewarded with an average grade simply for trying at the last second to put something, anything together to keep yourself from getting stuck because of your science project. So how does this crowding thing work?
Well, while taking the science exam, you put in answers like aorta and pulmonary valve because they come back to you from places you don’t even recognize. Piles of flashbacks fill your mind with things like “Big Bang Theory.” Now, you’re pretty sure it’s a TV show or something, but isn’t it also a relevant scientific term? Before you know it, you get a C on your final exam, even though you’ve been ignoring it for most of the term, right up until the last second. That, along with your C+ on your science project, and all the A’s and B’s you got in your day job that you were forced to pay attention to every day (which make up 80% of your grade) they give you a B- on your report card. Your parents don’t just save you the grounding, they buy you a toy or give you $5 for a good grade.
This is how procrastination is instilled in us at an early age. It’s also how we develop an addiction to caffeine and coffee. We need it to cram for our exams. Even grade-conscious, study-friendly students (often referred to as nerds, another American oddity, to belittle those who excel) cram in at the last possible moment, because we forget the major part of what is not relevant to us every day. If the school system wanted to punish procrastination, they’d have final exams once a week, so you could bury and forget all that useless knowledge you’ll never need in life, like the Big Bang theory and math. That’s what computers and documentaries are for anyway, to do the math and remind us of irrelevant facts.
Most students hate exams. This is also why most people in Western civilization learn to procrastinate as a defense mechanism, and why we as a people believe that a little effort means average and equality, which explains the popularity of reality shows these days. Because we encourage ourselves to put off everything we can until the last second, when the world around us explodes and forces us to focus by making us do too much in too little time. Simply put, procrastination is the foundation upon which all civilized society is built. We accept the mediocrity of others because surely one day, sooner or later, we will know; let’s put something off until the last second. It’s the American way. Now, if you don’t mind, there’s a great black and white movie on TV that I haven’t seen in years. I need to go check it out! So here’s a prayer I wrote, for every student who has been to school and for any adult who has an important report due on the first day after a weekend or after a long vacation .
A student’s prayer
Every time I have to study,
I pray to the Lord not to make me mad,
A computer can help me learn this rubbish,
But will it help me to not fail?
There is a lot to do,
And so much for Cram
Wow! There’s mom and dad watching
I better pass this exam…
There is no compassion or mercy for me…
Nowhere to turn but for the study room…
So dear Lord please help me pass my test tomorrow,
So mom and dad will stop bothering me and I can finally rest…
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