Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finals Week

The obstacle of school was about to be overcame. I had just been accepted into UC Santa Cruz the week before my exams, and I now had to secure my spot by passing my two remaining general education courses.

Even though I only had two finals, this had to be the most stressful finals week of my entire life. There was a lot riding on these tests, and I was not ready at all. As a Psychology major, I have to confess my profound lack of interest in hard sciences and embarrassingly poor mathematical abilities. Needless to say, my Statistics and Chemistry classes did not go very smoothly this quarter. I found it very challenging to stay interested and focused on these subjects that were purely stepping stones on the path towards transferring. Unfortunately, I didn't take on this challenge as I should have. My grades in both classes had dropped to a high D. These finals were my last efforts to pass my classes, otherwise, I felt like it would be simply irresponsible to leave the country. If I failed, I wouldn't go. No question.

I studied all week. I went over the presentation slides from Chem, I made a note sheet for Stats; I really tried to brush up before my exams. That Friday morning, at 7:30 am, I showed up for my math final to find that no one was there. After walking around for a few minutes, trying to find where my final was being administered, I suddenly realized that I had missed it! I had written down the wrong date on my calendar and completely missed it.

Immediately, I found a computer and emailed my professor. I told her I made a horrible mistake, and I needed to take the final to pass the class because I was transferring. I also explained that I couldn't retake the class in the spring, because I was leaving the country. Even though it was against her policy, I begged her to let me take the test. I waited four hours for a response. Before that, however, I asked every single person I came across to say a prayer for my stupid mistake. Everyone I talked to serenely reminded me that God has been faithful so far, and He will deliver me through. Once again, Victor Hernandez made another seemingly prophetic prediction: she probably wouldn't let me take the test, but she'd just give me a C.

I sat in front of my computer screen for hours, waiting for a response, and trying to study for my other final. At long last, my professor got back to me. After scolding me for my carelessness, she informed me that her car had broken down, so she couldn't come to school and let me take the final. Instead, however, she said she would just give me a C in the class. A passing grade!

High on the euphoric relief I had just experienced, I gleefully studied for my Chemistry final, which was later that day. When the time came, however, it proved to be absolutely horrendous. All the studying I did, I quickly realized, was no where near enough. I left half of the exam blank, and guessed a lot. After two and a half hours, I turned in my exam and got some lunch. I was feeling really uneasy about my performance, so I went to my professor's office.

I asked if there was any extra credit I could do before the grades were in. She told me no, and wondered why I was so worried. I explained my situation, just as I did to my Stats professor, and she asked why I couldn't retake the class. After mentioning my mission trip, she told me she did a few mission trips in college herself and began telling me about her journeys. As interesting as it was to hear about them, I eventually brought the conversation back to my final and she told me not to be concerned. She said I only needed a 68% on the exam to pass the class. I replied in protest, saying I must have gotten far below that score. It is what it is, she concluded, and wished me well for my trip.

This last week, the final exam grades were posted, and I got a 68.2%. Come on. That meant I passed this class, too! Nothing else to do for school. Nothing else hanging over my head.

There's no way this was accomplished by my own effort. No way. I did not deserve either of these grades. I slacked off, I spaced out, I wasted time...but God gave me favor anyway! He is unstoppable; my shortcomings and mistakes paled in comparison to His plans and purposes for my life. He is too good. He is too gracious.

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