Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hard Test Update

Just because I can't calm down until I tell SOMEBODY what just happened, I am going to torture my blog readers with the following story about my test.

We got our tests back today, and I got 69 out of 113. Yep, that's about the worst I've EVER done on a test in my life. I'm definitely not trying to be arrogant here, because I have this streak of perfectionism that borders on obsessive. Okay, it doesn't even border, it's way out there on the obsessive continuum.

Anyway, I've been actually losing sleep about this test since I bombed it last week, and this morning, seeing that score just about made me vomit. Thank God the prof. put the distribution on the board, so that I could see that 69 was actually the third highest score in the class. Phew.

So fine, now I understand that the professor intentionally makes the exam impossible and then puts it on a curve. Great! But that doesn't excuse the hours of anxiety that this caused me!

Let me give you an example of how confusing this professor is. Here is what he told us to do for part of a homework assignment.

5. [omitted first part of question] Finally, use Emacs to access the man pages on any rectangle commands you used, edit them to remove discussion of any features you did not use, and combine the man page excerpts into a single document showing what rectangle commands and features you used.

Note: He gave us the assignment on September 29 (via email, which I couldn't check until October 2), but didn't explain what the hell "rectangle commands" are until October 3.

I literally spent 5 hours on Oct. 2 working on this homework, which had many other really hard questions, then found out that he had changed the due date from Oct. 5 to October 10. So, yesterday, I again spent 7 hours (I'm not exaggerating) working on the homework. Here is what I came up with for my answer.

Rectangle Commands:

Dr. [name omitted], Is this a trick question? According to both the Unix and the Emacs book, the man pages are only for looking up Unix commands. I looked for rectangle commands and could not find any, so now I assume that Unix doesn't have rectangle commands. Is that correct? I spent quite a long time looking using the following prompts:

m-x man [Enter] r (gives an error message)
m-x man [Enter] R (gives the information for a program named R)
m-x man [Enter] rectangle (gives an error message)
m-x man [Enter] region (gives an error message)

I did use the rectangle command to organize the sessions, but it seemed kindof
redundant because I had already used tab to organize the document into columns.
I guess I'm not understanding what you wanted us to do.

Anyway, here is a description of what I did:
c-x h to select the entire document.
m-x untabify to remove tabs and replace with spaces
c-space to set the mark at the beginning of a column, and moved cursor to end and bottom of column
c-x r k to "kill" the column
c-x r y to "yank" the column (paste)

I hope I can get partial credit for that at least...


Now, here's the funny part. This morning, I log into my email 15 minutes before the homework needed to be submitted to his electronic mail box on Unix, and find this message:

2. Also, homework 3 asked for the man page on the Emacs rectangle commands, which does not exist (since man pages don't cover
individual Emacs commands). Please substitute the man page for the
cat command instead, unless you've already done something else more
or less equally reasonable instead.

Oh MY GOD! This email was NOT in my inbox yesterday when I was working on this at 7 PM at my dad's spa (because I live in the wilderness and don't have an internet connection!!!)

Okay, end of rant. If you've managed to read this far and feel bad for me, you can send Skittles to make me feel better.

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