December 12, 2004


Today is a day full of exam thoughts. I went to sleep thinking about how to write my second exam and woke up at 3 a.m., still thinking about it. I'm scheduled to proctor my first exam this morning at 8:30--yes, a Sunday morning. The class is Religion and the Constitution, and students have repeatedly pointed out the irony of giving an exam in the Religion and the Constitution class on a Sunday morning. Last night was the big Law School Christmas party, held at an extravagant Art Deco-themed house on Lake Mendota. The array of food and drink amazed. People spend hours doing things like candying orange and lime slices and deep-frying turkeys. A grand piano played holiday tunes automatically. There were lots of faculty and faculty family, including many cute kids dressed up in holiday clothes.

I got a ride from someone who needed to leave early, and I said I didn't mind leaving early, because I haven't finished writing an exam that's scheduled for Monday at 1:30, and I'm proctoring my other exam at 8:30 Sunday morning. "Why are you proctoring your exam?" she asked. "Well, that's a different question," I said, not interested in exploring that angle. The fact is, I've agreed to do it. I guess proctoring one's own exams must not be that common around here anymore, but it's too late to worry about that now. I'm scheduled to proctor and proctor I will. Half an hour after the proctoring's over, I've got a question and answer session scheduled for the class that has the Monday exam. If they read my blog, they will know that I've been up since 3 a.m. and that I went to a party the night before. They will also know I have not yet written the exam.

Ah, well, it's only 6:15. Still two more hours before the Religion exam. There's time enough to make quite a lot of headway on the CivPro2 exam if I just do it. Do I deliberately wait until the flames of deadline are licking at my heels? Much as I hate the pressure, I have learned from too many years of experience that the deadline unleashes powers of concentration and creativity that I can't just call into service at will. There are many days when I mean to do a task and can tell that my mind has a mind of its own, preventing me from starting, refusing to work until the point when the deadline unlocks its otherwise unreachable power.

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