This entire semester has been quite normal for me, school wise. I took, for me, an average schedule full of History and Criminal Justice classes. Nothing really out of the ordinary. But I always seem to have an abnormally high workload due to the electives I have chosen over the years and this semester was no different. I’m not one to take those Intro to Bowling or Beginners Finger Painting classes. Call me crazy, but when I’m forking over $25,000 of my own hard earned cash, I want to get something of substance in return. Therefore, my elective classes have always tended to be a little challenging and stimulating and this semester was no different as I was enrolled in Introductory Latin. However, this semester tended to be a little busier than I would have preferred due to my Senior Thesis class and whatnot, which did not bode well for my Latin class. Every other week it seemed like I was being forced to decide which came first in the studying hierarchy, Latin or any of my other classes. Since I technically didn’t need Latin and all my other classes were required for my major, you can guess which ones received priority.
Some people have asked me how I don’t fret and worry over my grades and it’s quite simple. Beyond studying, there’s nothing I can do. There’s no reason to pretend any test is life and death and if you studied the material, you should feel confident. Even if you feel like you bombed the test as you walked out of the class, why worry? Is ruining your night over worrying about a test you’ve already taken going to help your grade any? I think not. Yet sometimes there are times when I do grow nervous as I’m handed a test and so a few years ago I started doing what I do throughout the rest of my life whenever things get rough. I made myself laugh and forced myself to have fun with the tests. (Just ask Fellner what I did / wrote about during our Psychology AP exam. The story gets even funnier when you learn of the grade I received.) I started writing jokes or drawing funny pictures in the margins and this, therefore, always made the teachers get to know me and remember me a little quicker. They felt more comfortable calling on and joking around with me, often leading me to be mislabeled as a Teacher’s Pet. And Latin was no different.
As the semester grew older, the tests grew harder, and my study time for the class diminished, I found myself knowing fewer and fewer answers. But I hate leaving a question blank. Hate it. Despise it. Refuse to do it. I’ll answer “Um….Penis” before I leave a question blank. And so, whenever a question was given to me in Latin that I had absolutely no idea what the answer was, I would respond with “Dorkus Malorkus,” which is a quote from Simpsons. By quiz 8, my teacher was writing in the margins “what in the heck does this mean?!” and “for the love of God, NOOOOOOOO! THIS ISN’T A REAL LATIN PHRASE!!” I found it hilarious and I knew that she did too, even if she wouldn’t admit it. In fact, even though she felt at ease with me throughout the entire semester, she never once cracked a joke back at me. She always laughed when I or someone else did, but her response to them all were always just a smile and slight shake of the head before moving onto the next problem.
As my class and I were preparing to take the final today, I commissioned a Goob Poll and asked if there was anybody else in the class taking it simply as an elective. Not a one. So, when our teacher walked in the door and asked if there were any questions, I raised my hand. As a smile spread across her face and her eyes rolled, she called on me knowing damn well that I had never asked a serious question throughout the entire semester and that I wasn’t about to start now. I proceeded to lay out what I felt was a strong case for the curving by 50 points for all students who took Latin as an elective. Shouldn’t she help encourage students to take advantage of college and stimulate their minds?! Wouldn’t it be a kind gesture on her part if she could just curve my final average?!
She laughed and nodded as I went on until I finally reached my closing arguments. As I sat there awaiting her response, wondering how she was going to play off my question, she looked me square in the eye and said, “Ryan, you are a true Dorkus Malorkus.”
I don’t think I’ve ever smiled throughout an entire exam like I did today.