So you know that one scene at the end of one of the Harry Potter books where Dumbledore tells everyone that the exams are cancelled and Hermione has a melt down because of it? I’ve had something like that happen to me before, so I kind of understand where she’s coming from.
Have you ever had a teacher detail a very important essay project that will be the largest part of your grade for a unit and let the whole class know that you have to use this very specific book as one of the sources, but that the only hard copy of it is available downtown at the university, but can’t be checked out because its one of the university’s course books? Everyone in your class (and the other periods that have that class too) have to use the book. (This was back before the internet had really taken off (and doesn’t that make me feel old) so you couldn’t really get another copy of a university’s textbook unless you went to that school. Keep in mind that we were also just teenagers who hadn’t really gone through most bookstores for university texts.) I don’t remember how long it was supposed to be or anything like that, but it seemed like a huge project to be given at the time.
We also had to have it done before the next big break in class.
Which was something like two weeks away (at most.)
Most of my class was hyperventilating or just staring at our teacher in horror.
Now me, it’s not that I’m particularly cool under pressure or anything like that, but I am used to having limited time to do something that seems pretty impossible or at least improbable. I’m used to chaos happening and having to make some kind of sense or even just a rough draft of a plan and then working with it like it’s never going to be more than a rough draft until I come across something that makes me have to change the plan.
So I’m sitting there thinking up ways this will work out because I’m already in after school classes downtown three times a week anyway, and it won’t be a problem with my mom if I head up to the university (which is also downtown) on the public transit on Fridays after the class to get info from the book. I’m rearranging in my head how to fit working on the essay itself and looking up other sources in the amount of time I have to work on it alongside the other extra classes that I’m taking (so that I can graduate. You try missing three quarters of your Junior year of high school because of health and still wanting to walk with your class and not take all the extra classes that you can. My Senior year of high school I was technically a student at three different high schools: the Electronic High School for my state (I don’t know if it’s still up and running or if it’s been absorbed by other programs by this point), my own high school that I went to for the day (and before school started for a before-school class there as well), and the high school downtown that did the after school class in conjunction with several other programs from throughout the county. I had three different student IDs that year.
Good times. Good times.
Anyways, I’ve got a pretty good plan on how to get this all done in my head when my teacher lets us know what the next unit will be.
It’s on Stress.
Let that sink in a moment.
The whole reason we were having to push this essay project was because we had run into timing problems and so had to fit a good month and a half worth of lessons into two weeks before the next unit we were supposed to be starting.
Which was about Stress.
The whole essay was nothing more than an example of the kinds of things we can and will run into all over the place once we leave high school (supposedly. I had been dealing with this kind of life for my entire life already. This was not a new thing for me, which was why I had a Plan. It was a good Plan!)
Sorry. Even well over a decade later, I’m still easily worked up about this subject.
So my class, for the most part, let out this large sigh of relief when they realize they don’t have to fit this seemingly ridiculous project into their lives.
It was a very stressing moment to realize that I had put all of that work and rearranging and such in only to have it all be for nothing! I’m not exactly made of energy over here!
I’m quite honestly surprised that, other than my right arm spasm-ing and then freezing in a claw (which was painful, let me tell you) nothing worse happened.
Now imagine having to actually use said Plan for several weeks and then being told that the essay project (or exam) that you had been slaving away for so that your grade wouldn’t tank was then waved away with the assurance that it wasn’t needed, but that they hadn’t told you that until after all of the work that had gone into it.
So, yeah, I kind of sympathize with this fictional character having that happen to her.
I was just sitting on my bed and minding my own business while reading through a random fanfiction that hasn’t even updated in three years (doesn’t mean it won’t be. I have hope!) when that part of the story hit me and I had to pause and write this down. Mostly so it won’t vanish on me later and then stalk me whenever I’m trying to work on something else.
I have learned this.