Welcome to the last week of the semester

Everything crashes together at the end of the term. It’s inevitable that everything comes due before everyone goes away, and it’s urgent that I get it all graded as fast as possible. So I set a deadline of 6pm tonight for the final lab report in genetics; then tomorrow at 6pm is the deadline for the last take-home midterm; and then the day after tomorrow is the last class session, which I’ve set aside for final grade assessment. Everything has to be done by Wednesday so everyone knows their semi-final status! The next couple of days are going to involve me sitting late at night staring at reports and exams on the screen.

I have two more lectures to give in introductory biology, one on examples of modern evo-devo research, and a final discussion of bioethics.

I won’t be done after that, though. I have to compose take-home final exams for genetics and the intro biology course, and get those formatted and submitted by Friday. Grading those will slap me in the face at the end of next week.

One bright spot in the endless misery of evaluation is that I’ve decided that Friday will be game day: I have a few decks of Clades and Ecologies and we’ll celebrate the last day of the semester with some fun.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Languages… what exactly does the ‘Merican “semester” mean?
    I am not being facetious, I think the Swedish meaning of the word is drastically different. Yours is prolly “frantic work until you have a stroke”.

  2. wzrd1 says

    Half the “school year”, so begin with acclimatization, end with cramming and tests, which some stress over.
    If you’ve not guessed it, I was never one for cramming or even study, I retain information quite well, so never had much use for either, but was always helping peers with their studies. And as a result, became a fan of the Socratic method, since the didactic was long done.
    My method of study involved a fast review of the textbook, never took much along the lines of notes, ace the test.
    So, I never stressed, based upon I either knew it or I didn’t and can only blame myself for not knowing, given the ample opportunities to ask questions and read my texts. Helping others only improved my understanding, as it’s a truism, if you really want to be proficient in a subject, teach it.

  3. says

    My memories of being a college student at the end of the term (we had three, fall/winter/spring) are still vivid more than 30 years later. I would be totally out of money, reduced to eating biscuits or popcorn or something of that sort for dinner.
    Usually that last week would involve singing in some fancy concert or other, standing up there on stage wearing a robe or a suit or possibly a green blazer, hoping I wouldn’t pass out and tumble down into the woodwinds. On a couple of occasions I entertained the notion of asking the audience if anyone had any goddamned food.
    But whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Well, no. Actually it left me weak as a kitten.
    Misty water-colored memories, indeed…

  4. birgerjohansson says

    ‘Semester’ in Swedish= VACATION.

    Also, May 1st is a holiday.
    Because it is the day of the labor movement.
    (Not bragging, just reminding you of what you could have if your leaders were not parasites)

    Also, Medical Xpress has a story relevant for overworked academics.
    “Artificial intelligence could predict heart attacks “

  5. flex says

    @Larpar, #3,

    PZ, I thought you walked to work? : )

    He does now…. ;)

    Funny story. We got a warranty return many years ago, our module wasn’t the problem but all the suppliers heard the story. It seems a truck arrived at a dealership with a faulty module which would periodically instruct the truck to start. When it was delivered on a Friday to a rural dealership, it was parked for the weekend and left in gear. Over the entire weekend the truck would start, lurch forward an inch, and then stall. Not necessarily a big problem, and most dealerships would have noticed immediately, but it was parked behind the dealership, a foot away from a wall. When the owners arrived on Monday, the cinderblock wall had been crushed about half way through, and the entire front of the truck was totaled. It was the first time I’d ever heard of a truck trying to commit suicide.

  6. moonslicer says

    I had a look at that game “Clades”, and that looks very interesting. Rather basic, which is exactly what I’d need, and it’s for ages 6+, so my son and I would squeak by there. Now he plays all sorts of games, though they’re almost always the electronic sort. Plain old cards wouldn’t exactly be up his alley, rather tame for his tastes, but you never know, I might get him to switch gears. Finally, I didn’t see any dice there, which is another plus. One or two bad rolls of the dice is enough to send both of us into paroxysms of rage. The board gets overturned, pieces are thrown at the wall, that sort of carry-on.

  7. cgilder says

    Being a non-TA graduate student throws all those rhythms out of whack. This semester I finally completed all my credit requirements, but I’ve only been taking a couple seminars each semester since 2021. The lack of predictable frantic panic makes it difficult to tell the passage of time! My panics come at random times like “oh shit, I am supposed to have a lit review done next month” or “wait, my funding ends when?!?”