One week from now, exactly, I will be reading through the available exam questions and starting to decide what to answer. My feelings regarding the exam run from resignation to desperation, with bits of frustration mixed in. This has been described as a hazing into the field of political science. I have professors that talk about how stupid of a practice and what a waste of time it is, and simultaneously tell us how hard it is going to be and how high the expectations. It is as if the want to make it as stressful as possible for us. Unfortunately for me, I have never been one to respond well to pressure. I am not a type A personality. I hate pressure. I hate competition.
I am sure my mood is not being helped by the fact I have a raging migraine. My headache has an endogeneity problem if I ever saw one (just a little political science humor) - I slept terribly because of the migraine, and the migraine is so bad this morning because I didn't sleep well. I have both been blessed with good health - I have never had a broken bone, major disease, a surgery, and have not been hospitalized since I was baby, and cursed with plenty of minor annoyances to drive someone mad - migraines, tension headaches, sore muscles, a chronically stiff back, a chronic hacking cough... none of which can really be treated effectively medically. I just hope that I am feeling good next Monday, or it will be a miserable day.
On a completely different note, though I will relate it back to generals, I saw a chipmunk on Grim's walk this morning. We see squirrels all the time, but I don't remember the last time I saw a chipmunk. He disappeared into a hole in the lawn he was sitting in. It reminded me of my seventh grade science class. It was taught by Mr. Weber, an award winning teacher and author (see his book Backyard Almanac on http://amazon.com). The structure was simple- Monday and Tuesday go through slides in the classroom describing the appearance and behavior of a set of something (all frogs, all deciduous trees, all flowers etc in northern Minnesota), Wednesday go on a "Web walk" (a hike into the woods near school where we would find something from that weeks topic and discuss it), Thursday type of summaries of what happened on the Web walk, and Friday take a quiz showing we could properly identify whatever we were studying.
I do not remember a thing from that class. Labels have always been a horrible weakness of mine. If I did remember anything, it would more likely be how a certain species behaved than what it was called. This is also one of my biggest problems with political science. I understand the theories, but I cannot name them. If a question is phrased, "what is the difference between new institutionalism and the original institutionalism?" or "Compare structuralism to neo-institutionalism and statism," like many questions have been phrased, I will be left scrambling. That is my self-assigned task for today - get over my headache, and start to sort out the labels, and if nothing else, make a list of them so when I start scrambling, I won't have to scramble too far to find the answer.