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2004-05-17 - 7:07 p.m.

Exam frights

Today I encountered the dreadful heart-stopping experience of losing one of my students' exams. The feeling that one exam was missing had been sinking over me during the past three days. It hit me hard at about three o'clock this afternoon. Like a fist in the stomach, hard. This exam belonged not just to any old student, either. This exam belonged to one of the "testers" - the students who behave like three year olds. "Is this going to be on the exam?" "Will you do this for me?" "can we have a take-home for the final?" A woman with whom I've had difficulties from the start, in other words...

I went through all of the instantaneous psychoanalysis: Did I lose her exam on purpose? Was it a Freudian act of passive aggression? What do I tell her tomorrow, when she, the most grade-conscious of them all, stands before me and wants her test??

After three hours of mad searching, cleaning, and playing through solution scenarios, I arrived home to find it tucked neatly under my sofa. It must have fallen astray last week. The positive result is that the mountains of loose paper stacked on my desk have been organized (that is, thrown away). Disaster averted.

The other news of the day is that I have finally submitted my first National Science Foundation proposal. This proposal has been in the works for almost a year, and I'm afraid that it has become a publication in itself. In other words, it is an extremely well-thought-out proposal! In order to survive as a scientist I realize that this amount of deliberation per proposal CANNOT continue. I must somehow automate the procedure of coming up with and expressing ideas, a concept that I find exceedingly scary. But then again, I remember my first graduate student talk, and the weeks I spent preparing it. Now I prepare a two-hour class lecture in 4-5 hours. There is, indeed, a learning curve.

The other strange news is that I think that I'm attracted to my grants officer. I'm not used to finding other women attractive. Well, that's not true. I find women attractive all the time. I'm not used to feeling a "vibe." A "connection." A funny, slight uneasiness because I normally don't feel this with women..unless they are men. I just liked her, and in the end realized that I was interacting with her the way I would with a man rather than with a woman. Professional though we all try to be, I do recognize that there is a difference. Hard to explain, but nevertheless it was interesting to me.

Then again, Springtime awakens all kinds of strange feelings, doesn't it? I always feel a strange need to be connected with the people around me in Spring. I smile more; strangers talk to me; personalities thaw with the winter ice.

Anyway....I'M SO GLAD I FOUND THAT EXAM. (pppssst. Any teachers out there? Has this ever happened to you? and if so what did you do? I'm talking about the exam thing, by the way.)

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