04 December, 2002

C++ Final Exam

This morning, I woke up at 2:20 pm. Ordinarily, this is no big deal, but today I had a C++ programming final exam that started at two o'clock, so of course I was worried from the moment I first looked at a clock.

I jumped, got in the shower for a total of perhaps thirty seconds, threw on some clothes, grabbed my good-luck pencil, and drove like a maniac to the campus.

It was the first time in quite a while that I sped over the speed limit. Indeed, it is the first time I've ever driven Machiavelli over the speed limit since I first got him.

When I got to campus, I noticed that someone was in my regular parking space. Of course, this is no big deal, but it struck me at the time, since I had this feeling that everything was going to go wrong after this. I vowed to make sure my lucky pencil didn't break, else I would really be screwed.

I ran up the stairs and across part of the campus to attempt to show up at least less then thirty minutes late, but of course that wasn't going to happen. I showed up at 2:45. I had an hour and fifteen minutes to complete a two hour final exam.

Dr. May allowed me the use of her book, since I didn't bring mine, and I sat down right away to get started on my test. In my head, I had two conflicting thoughts...

You're going to fail! said one teeny voice. You dumbass! Of all the times to be late, you chose today! Truly, you are most retarded!

But I refused to listen to the squeaking pessimism. Instead, I told myself, It'll be okay, Eric. You're intelligent enough to do this. I have faith in you.

Tentatively, I looked down at the test to the very first question.

Question 1:
Write a while statement that sums the digits 1-10 inclusive.

I do a doubletake, wondering what's up. Surely, I was handed the wrong test. This can't possibly the final exam, can it? I look to the next question, wondering what I will find...

Question 2:
Write a for statement that sums the digits 1-10 inclusive.

Oh, my God, I think to myself. This has to be the Twilight Zone or something... I look at my lucky pencil, and start to direct my thoughts to it, in lieu of myself. Joy, can you believe this? After yesterday's lab exam that took four hours to complete? Is this test really as easy as it looks at first sight? Indeed it was. The questions were wholly ambiguous, and ridiculously easy.

I hesitated before starting the test, though. Did I really want to waste the use of my lucky pencil on such a retarded test? Within a few seconds, I had decided to go ahead and use it. My reasoning? I argued that so far the good luck was working, so why let it stop now?

I finished the test in fifteen minutes.

When I was done, I stuck around, not wanting to leave so very soon. Everyone else was still there, busily writing away. They all looked so very studious.

Sheep, a familiar voice in my head rings. They are nothing but sheep.

And indeed, he is right. But even sheep serve a purpose, I remind the voice. After all, meat is still meat.

...

Tomorrow is my theology exam. Wish me luck, 'cause I'm going to need it in there.