Frightening Philosophy

Once upon a time, I was in college, waiting for my philosophy class to start.  Conveniently, my preceding class met in that same lecture hall, so I didn’t actually have to go anywhere in the interm 15 minutes.  As people came into the room, I noticed that they would each drop their assignment on the table at the front.  At first, I assumed that this was some extra-credit work or something else not related to my life.  But when every student had something to turn in, I got a bit more concerned.  I checked the syllabus, and sure enough, a 250 word response to the reading I hadn’t bothered with was due in 10 minutes.

Now, that’s bad enough, but wait there’s more.  On the first day of class, the professor tells us that she really only has one policy: Complete every assignment, if you miss anything (even, for example, a 250 word response paper) you fail the class.  I wouldn’t just have to turn it in late and get points off.  I wouldn’t even get a 0 on the assignment.  I would fail the class because I thought it was due next week.  But never fear, I took care of it.

  1. I immediately left the lecture hall (walking past the professor on her way in) and setup in the lobby of that building.
  2. I found the reading online and skimmed the intro and conclusion.
  3. Then, I hammered out a response that was far too short and much too terrible, but it didn’t matter, I just had to have something to turn in.
  4. Problem was, I needed to print it.  The secretary at the lobby desk was decidedly unhelpful, so I ran out of the building to the library.
  5. 25 cents later I had a printed copy of my assignment.
  6. I ran back to the building and walked (back) into the room with a few other latecomers, turned in the assignment, and found a seat no more than 2 minutes late with the professor blissfully unaware.

After no small amount of panic and determined effort, I averted this disaster and lived to fight another day.  This is definitely in my top-5 most impressive academic achievements, and the memory of that day always brings a smirk to my face.  This series of events also taught me something about myself.  That when something goes wrong and panic sets in, I can handle it.  When I’m working at absolute capacity to achieve something that must be done, It’s scary how much I can accomplish.

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Frightening Philosophy