An open letter to classes that have psets and exams in the same week
This isn’t working out
I hear you, really, I do. Psets are a great way to learn material and exams are a good way to test understanding, and it can be hard to pack all that learning and understanding into a single semester. Your reasons for this behavior — having psets and exams in the same week — make sense. But I wish you’d consider my wellbeing along with these optimizations.
When we first met at the beginning of the semester, the syllabus really should have raised some red flags. The two-day separation of our midterm (an important milestone in any student-course relationship for sure) and the due date of Pset 5 seemed like not-so-big a deal in those early weeks when I was still energized from break and the material was mostly review. I probably glossed over those all-too-close-together dates and thought to myself, “I got this!” But, class, let me tell you this: I was wrong. I most definitely do not “got this.”
Things are moving a little too fast for me. That midterm you planned was an experience for sure. Seriously, that clever trick on question two that required students to recall that cute-but-obscure trigonometric equation — A+. (I mean, not that any student got an A+ on that exam. I’m just trying to give you a compliment here.) No, no, I’m not dropping you, so don’t freak out, but I really need the next few days away from you to process things. I mean, I have dropped classes for less before, sure, but you and I have really got something special going on. We both know that you complete me, or, at least, one of my degree requirements that I cannot fulfill with literally any other class. (Believe me, I looked into that last week before studying for your exam.)
Since we are in this for the long-haul, I really need you to understand me here: I think some of your expectations are a little ridiculous, and I’m not ready for that level of academic commitment at this time in my life. You wanted me to attend lectures and recitations, prepare for an exam on lectures one through 15, take the exam, and two days later churn out a pset covering lectures 16 through 19? You’re breaking my sleep schedule here, class.