SparkNotes Blog

Life According to Ginger: Finding the Humor in Midterms

It’s midterms this week! This means that I’m halfway done with the semester, one quarter of the way done with the year, 1/8 of the way done with my undergraduate degree, and 1/16 of the way done with my graduate degree. Which I will get. Even if I have yet to choose a major, I WILL get a grad degree in whatever major I choose. And go on to become successful in whichever field I choose, and live a fulfilling life thereafter.

In the meantime, everyone (including myself) is complaining about how much they procrastinated. By the end of today, I have to write a performance review of a play, an essay, an annotated bibliography, and part of an analysis of an archeological excavation; study for a text that I can pretty much guarantee I won’t do well on; go to meetings with two of my teachers; go to tennis practice every day; clean my room if I ever want to find that pack of m&m’s; and on top of all that, FIND TIME TO GET THE BOWLING BALL OUT OF MY BED (my roommate has taken to putting it under my pillow when I’m not there).
If there’s any plus side to all of this, it’s that I take delight in finding the humor (sometimes sarcastic, bitter, and sadistic) in my more ridiculous assignments.

For instance, I’m incredibly resentful that I have to write a review of and an essay about a play that I’ve seen once. This is ridiculous. I didn’t happen to memorize the thing, and it’s difficult to take notes in a darkened theatre. So now I’m left with a page of notes, and three pages to write. My father has always told me that I can BS with the best of them, and I guess now is the time to put my special talents to the test.

It’s good to look for humor in the small things. If you haven’t heard of Malevich, he’s a Russian avant-garde artist who is most famous for painting a series of black squares on a white canvas, which started the Suprematist movement. We have been studying him in my Art History class, and we were assigned a reading on him by Briony Fer. I quote her: “Malevich’s response takes on fabulous dimensions with his vertiginous prose, evoking Suprematism as nothing less than the visual equivalent of inter-galactic space travel.” OK. First of all, I’m having trouble taking a black square seriously as a work of art. Much less one that can be comparable to INTERGALACTIC SPACE TRAVEL. That right is reserved for Draco Malfoy and Rumbleroar alone. Second—can anybody tell me what “vertiginous” means? Yes, I know is one click and 15 keystrokes away, but that was a rhetorical question, meant to illustrate the pompous nature of the writer. I guess somebody with a name like Briony Fer has no option but to be pretentious.

There are also rare instances when teachers have a sense of humor. Sadistic, perhaps, but they can be funny. My anthropology teacher is having us perform an archeological excavation of one of the student lounges—we have to get up early to map out all the garbage from the previous night before the janitors get there. This wouldn’t be too bad—if she didn’t make us do this the morning after one of the biggest parties of the year. To clarify how she knows exactly which day the entire campus will be hungover—my school is VERY liberal. We have huge dean-approved campus-wide parties, free alcohol for everyone, and police hanging about to make sure nobody gets hurt. I swear she gets a little kick every year by destroying our morning-after.

Ginger’s Song of the Week: Panic at the Disco is a secret guilty pleasure of mine. I can almost justify listening to them because my favorite song by them (this one) is not well known, but I STILL adore “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” People make fun of me all the time for it.

Do you have midterms this week, or coming up? How are they going?

Related post: Life According to Ginger: The Truth About College Cafeterias