Academic Anecdotes: Week of hell


Joseph Chun, Design & Production Editor

Sunday. I started with a strong resolve to ace every test that week—my week of hell. 

My misery kicked off with an AP Biology and Algebra II test on Monday, a Chinese test on Tuesday, then a life-defining (seriously) math competition on Wednesday, for which I have spent years preparing.

Because, like always, I spent my whole Saturday procrastinating––watching YouTube, chatting with friends, playing games––my Sunday was a swamp of unfinished work. Once I had reviewed the biology slides, finished the last 10 pages of my unit packet, answered the AP classroom problem sets, and solved some questions, my brain was screaming for a break.

I even considered the ultimate get-out-of-jail card: faking an illness and not showing up to school the next day. The questions in AP classroom and were unreasonably difficult––especially since I was completely clueless about the answers for some FRQs. If we get a difficult test this time around, I thought, I might have to pack my bags and sleep at my friend’s house for a few days.

Helpless and tired, I continued my fight against the sweet temptation to sleep. It was 3 a.m. when I finished studying for the night.

Monday, office hours. Surrounded by classmates and friends confirming test answers with each other, I swaggered out to the hallways with a feeling that I did well on my first period biology exam. Yet my glee did not last long, for my suffering was far from over. This was no time to celebrate over a finished test. I quickly scrambled through my Algebra formative sheets and scanned through the papers, getting ready for my next battle. 

4:20 p.m.––I arrived at home slightly later than usual because the new bus monitor did not wake me up at my stop (unfortunately, this was becoming somewhat of a pattern). My Monday misery at school was finally over, but sadly, the most hellish part of my week remained: the crucial, college-determining math competition. 

Maybe I should have grabbed a pencil and started practicing competition math problems since there were only two days left until the big event. But if I was that productive, why would I be writing this column? My head was spinning from a caffeine crash, and I was barely awake enough to hold my pencil, so I just let myself collapse into my bed and grab some sleep. I was probably bound to faint while studying had I not taken a nap anyway. 

Tuesday, after school. Although I slightly messed up my Chinese test due to my lack of preparation (and my six-hour nap), I was relieved that all tests except for one were over. Now I could wholly focus on my competition. Because I slacked off in preparing for it the previous day, I compensated by solely dedicating Tuesday to solve countless problems, review answers, and watch online lectures. After my preparation, I was so worn-out that I could not open my eyelids, but I confidently believed that I would ace tomorrow’s exam. Freedom was not far away, it seemed.

Wednesday, 11 p.m. The time had finally come. I nervously opened up the link for the math competition (it was virtual this year), took a deep breath, and carefully read through the first few questions.

Exactly three hours later, 2 a.m. It was finally over. Though I solved a decent amount of problems, I was unsure of how many of those would be correct (it is my specialty to make silly mistakes). But my performance did not really matter at that moment––I wanted to simply forget about the test and celebrate the fact that I survived the biggest part of the week. 

But, as it turned out, this never-ending week of hell was not over, as I still had assignments for Thursday and Friday. Even after Friday, another week of hell would take place. Knowing that there was no time to rest in this eternal loop of work, I reluctantly opened up my biology lab assignment––then closed it. Maybe playing a bit of Minecraft before getting back to work would not hurt so much.