March 31, 2010

#25: Bomb a Prelim

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Completing, or attempting to complete, the Big Red Ambition list requires sacrifices. In the case of #86: Drive your car up and down Libe Slope or Ho Plaza, you’re allowing for the potential loss of your car — or in the case of my driving skills, the near certain loss of your car. Perhaps this is why I can’t find a single person to joyride down the slope with me. Of course, most of the 161 things don’t require forgoing much more than your dignity. The humiliation of the Big Red Ambition list seems to amplify with age. #91: Hooking up with a freshman. It isn’t that embarrassing when you’re a freshman or a sophomore. Pretty mortifying as a senior (or if you’re a senior boy, this should feel mortifying). I’m fairly certain my good friend hooked up with a 16-year-old on break — perhaps this should be incorporated into the list in future years?One thing I’ve never intentionally sacrificed for the list is my grades, so I was thrilled when I came across the Facebook group “When you’re down, Orgo will make you smile.” Max, a student in CALS, completed #25: Bomb a Prelim; he wrote in hysterical answers to the organic chemistry prelim in February. (In the process, he also managed to check off #37: Take a class you think is impossible just for fun.) Max actually received a score of “00,” a score that even my slacker friends have never achieved. Legendary.In typical Cornell fashion, Max had been carefully planning to enroll in orgo and fail the exam this way since last semester, when he and his friends first came up with the idea. Luckily, he doesn’t need the class for his major and is taking Plant Pathology 2010: Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds to fulfill his science requirement (#69 on the Big Red Ambition List).Even the T.A. who graded Max’s test found it entertaining; some of the funniest parts of the exam are the answers coupled with the T.A.’s red-inked responses. My personal favorite? Max writes that a chemical reaction is caused by “an act of God,” and the TA responds, “Reading more Ayn Rand, you will realize this doesn’t exist.” Love the cross-disciplinary approach to failing a student.According to Max, however, organic chemistry Prof. Dotsevi Sogah was a little concerned at first. He checked with Max’s advising dean to make sure the exam was actually taken in good fun and Max wasn’t too stressed out. “It was reassuring,” Max said, “to know the system cared about my well-being enough to check up on me.” Not bad for an 800-person lecture.Max’s T.A. isn’t the only one on campus to find his prelim funny — his Facebook group already has 295 members and counting. (Mine has like 12. Not going to lie … sort of jealous.) Since I don’t have the space to recap all of the answers here, I strongly suggest logging on and checking it out; the name is accurate — it really will make you smile.Max emphasized that the aim, “Wasn’t … to inspire anyone to fail, just to remind [his] close friends who are always stressed about that class that it’s not the end of the world, and hopefully to help them relax a little bit.” Advice that we can all take to heart, whether failing a prelim or attempting #26: Acing the next one to save your grade.  RLD

Original Author: Jenni Warne