Monday, May 08, 2006

Finals week

So the ritual of finals week is here. It's always a nostalgic time for me, a chance to remember matta season in UWI. Night and day when compared to "finals week" here. Of course, old style, pre-semester matta season was also a world away from the modern thing is UWI.

I always loved the intensity of matta season. It really made me feel alive to dedicate whole days to studying, to sitting alone and working through a year of notes. At a good time it was as intense a tunnelling experience as I have had. So different to watching finals here, where people have a pile of 3-credit courses, many of them with non-cumulative final exams. Matta season was a time to synthesise, to see all the information together at once, to try to make a whole of it.

And that thought takes me back to 5S, when Hoosanie made Lit synthetic, when he put together Julius Caesar into a whole. It also brings me back to GP, when I finally learned how to write. In many ways A Levels was a waste of time - we spent one year learning the material, and the second year learning how to pass the exams. We could easily have covered 2-3 times the material. On the other hand, it was in A's that I learned how to write, I learned how to put ideas together, how to synthesise knowledge. The most important step towards writing a dissertation was probably A Levels. It always bothers me the way that we gloss over things in intro biology or botany classes.