The second flurry of exams is past now. (By chance, all my courses are on an irregular exam schedule, with either 3 or 4 tests, instead of the traditional midterm and final. For most students, the upcoming week is midterms.)
I got a 98 on my American Government exam. I missed a question about executive agreements. It was a multiple choice question, and there were only two possible answers given what I knew about executive agreements, which are agreements made by the president with governments of other countries, which are like treaties but don't have to be ratified by the Senate. I knew that. The distinction between the two answers was that one said executive agreements have to be within U.S. law and the other said they could be outside of U.S. law. I finished the rest of the test and then pondered that question for about 10 minutes. It was silly to fret about it, because I had no idea which was correct. That particular piece of information wasn't in my notes, it wasn't in the textbook. It must have been something the professor said in lecture and I hadn't written it down. I just took a guess, and I could have done that ten minutes earlier.
So, a 98 is pretty good, but I still wanted to know the answer, just to know. I approached the professor after class yesterday and asked her. She said, "Well, if you read the question carefully, there was only one possible answer," which struck me at first as an odd response. She must have thought I was questioning the fairness of the question. I can understand why she might be defensive, because students question everything, trying to get an extra point here or there. It's incredible how much bargaining with professors goes on. I don't remember that we did that when I was young. Maybe I was just too timid to bargain.
Anyway, I wanted to say, "I read the question carefully about 25 times. That's not the problem. The problem is that I still don't know the answer." I didn't say that. She told me that executive agreements have to be within U.S. law because the president is acting as a U.S. citizen when he makes these agreements, whereas a treaty is outside of U.S. because it is an agreement between or among governments. That's what I wanted to know. (My slogan -- "Academia: it's not just about learning.")
I got a 92 on my Biology exam last week. Adding my 10 points of extra credit, my score is 102! I also got an A on that English paper I blogged about recently. In Spanish I'm hovering somewhere between an A and B, I think, and I'm working as hard as I possibly can, so I just have to be happy with that.
I had a dream last night that I was being chased by a giant cat. It looked like a house cat but as big as a house. (Like in the Japanese horror films, where they'd film a fly or something and project it really huge so it looked like a monster.) After I escaped from the cat, I was on a ledge somewhere miles up in the sky, and there were tiny babies and kittens crawling around, some of them falling off the edge, while a veterinarian was explaining to me an elaborate medical procedure -- like an autopsy performed while they were still alive -- which was done on the babies and kittens after they fell. And somebody was eating French fries, which I could smell but not see.