In this section I will be talking all about how smart I am. I hope that you can endure it. But really, why keep a blog if you can’t do some self-congratulating every now and then? I, like many, like to point out what I've done and have it praised. It's the 4-year old in all of us. Anyway, I’ve been doing some part-time schooling through BYU independent study, and two weeks ago I finally took the final exam for my world civilizations class. Man that was hard. Here’s how it worked – the professor wanted two essays, one on a question from the second half of the class and another comprehensive essay. He gave us six questions to study for each essay, so 12 all together. Two questions per essay were on the test, and I was to choose one to write on. The expectation was that I’d spend 1 ½ hours writing each essay, and there was a three hour time limit. I couldn’t have any notes or books with me. So, in the end, I had to have enough information on 12 topics in my head to write about each one for more than an hour. That’s a lot of stuff to keep in your head.
I had made the mistake of letting too much time lapse between finishing my last assignments and getting ready for the final, so I had to review almost everything, and take notes, and then refine my notes until I had an outline that I could memorize. It really was a lot of work. I prayed about it, too, and I honestly believe that the prayers worked because while studying I felt more inclined toward some questions than others, and so I gave those more time and thought, and my brain wrapped around those topics. I felt like I understood the material well enough to repeat names and dates and then to add my own take on it, some thoughts and insights. And in the end those questions were on the test. I wrote for the full three hours, 24 pages, by hand. I like to tell people that, “Three hours and 24 pages!” It seems to impress.
My essays were on the origins of the Islamic nation, and how their historical development and religious beliefs play into what’s going on in the world today. The second was on the nomadic peoples of the ancient and medieval world and how they affected their societies. Did you know that the Hyksos were a group of people in Egypt who introduced bronze tools and weapons to the Egyptians? And they had chariots, and that’s how the Egyptians got chariots. This is significant because that scene in Charlton Heston’s movie “The Ten Commandments” where Pharaoh and his armies are chasing down Moses at the Red Sea would not have been near as good without the chariots. Can you imagine? I can’t. We have the Hyksos to thank for that.
I figured it would take a couple of weeks for the instructor to post my grade, but that didn’t stop me from checking the website 15 times every day starting last week. Today the grade was there – 96%! Yeah! I’m still so happy. It feels good, doesn’t it, to work hard on something and have it pay off so well?
I learned a couple of things about myself while doing this. First, I’m really not as smart as I think. I had to read and reread everything so many times before I had a good enough grasp on it to take that test. I used to think that I was pretty quick, but that is not true. Not anymore. I really had to work for this test. And second, I really love history. Really. And I loved knowing that I could sit down and write about any of those topics and have something substantial to say. It felt good. It took forever to get there, but it felt good. And I aced it. Nice.
I do realize that many of you have accomplished so much more, and some who read this are still in school and might think that my one test is nothing. You're probably right. Still, it means something to me.
Ok, that’s probably enough about my great scholastic achievement. Thanks for indulging me.
Hm. I guess that’s all I have to say. Oh! I do want to show you something. This is my nephew Spencer, and that is his roller coaster. He built it all by himself! Can you believe that? I talked to him on the phone one day while he was working on it (Spencer is in Minnesota), and he told me that he was looking at the pictures in the directions. He couldn’t really read the directions, so he just looked at the pictures. Unbelievable! Look at all of those little pieces. I’m stunned every time I see it.
That's it for today. Thanks, as always, for keeping me in mind.