Monday, May 28, 2012

Comic Sans, Jedward, and Baby Wildlife: Ireland Part Two

Top o' the late afternoon to you again, dear readers! Since I once again have a host family equipped with wifi, I figured now would be the perfect time to write Ireland post number two. For the past few days, we've basically been centered around Wexford/Clonard/I don't really understand how the whole parish/city/county nomenclature thing works here but we're in the southeast. We've been having a simply massive time (that means awesome, for those of you who are unenlightened in the ways of Irish slang). In what follows, I will share with you some of the observations I've made during our time in Wexford.

Observation #1: I don't know about broader culture, but in terms of font usage and nightclub music, this country is stuck randomly several years in the past. Those of you who follow me on Twitter have already seen this, but the stores and people of Ireland use Comic Sans more than anyone I've ever seen. In the past few days, I have seen approximately four storefronts whose signage is entirely written in Comic Sans. It seems that everywhere I turn, Comic Sans appears. At lunch today, I looked down at the sandwich I was eating and what did I find but "Fresh Everyday!" printed all over the Comic Sans. I'm normally not a big font snob, but my understanding is that Comic Sans is pretty much only acceptable for newsletters passed out by first grade teachers. I don't understand, Ireland. I don't understand. Meanwhile, the DJs of nightclubs (at least in Wexford) are a tad confused as well. On Friday night, a few of us made an appearance at Wexford's hippest club, the confusingly named The Stores. When we walked in, they were playing Crank Dat Soulja Boy. At this point, I embraced the playlist as a happy throwback to the era of our old friend Baby Sarah. Soon after, though, Soulja Boy faded into the background and was replaced, inexplicably, by several selections in a row of what I can only describe as 1960s Irish folk-pop. They eventually headed back toward modernity with such pop hits as "Black or White" by Michael Jackson, "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne, and "Raise Your Glass" by Pink - which, to their credit, was at least released in this decade. Don't get me wrong, I had a lovely time (with an entrance fee of €10, it better have been a lovely time), but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was horribly wrong for me to be in a nightclub when all the music playing came out when I was 14.

Observation #2: Irish people love both talking and food even more than I do. I'm making this observation based mostly (okay, entirely) on the two sets of host parents I've had so far, so it could be horribly inaccurate. For these four people, though, it could not be truer. These people will not let each other get a word in edgewise. Their idea of contributing to a conversation is basically just talking loudly at the same time as everyone else until someone stops talking. While I certainly understand the insatiable desire for domination in a conversation, this tendency, coupled with their barely-intelligible accents, makes Irish people almost impossible to understand. Basically, I just nod and smile a lot and throw in the occasional "Oh, yes, definitely." Then there's the food. My host parents here in Wexford are literally obsessed with feeding us. Since we've been here, we have eaten an average of five meals a day. To fully understand this obsession, observe the following real-life conversation my fellow Folkheads and I had with Finbarr and Mary:

F&M: So did you girls get dinner tonight?
Us: Yes, sandwiches and tea and desserts and stuff.
F&M: Oh, so no, you didn't have dinner then.
Us: Uh yes? We did? We just said that?
 F&M: Well right, but just sandwiches, so you didn't REALLY eat. We'll make you curry. And cake.

The days of the potato famine these are not. This trend applies to restaurants, as well. Yesterday I had a fish and chips meal for less than €10 that included a piece of cod approximately the size of my arm. Today I had a sandwich too big for me to finish, and it only cost €3. Take note, Subway.

Observation #3: The relationship of Europeans to Eurovision is strange and fantastic. For those who don't know, Eurovision is essentially a giant televised singing competition between the countries of Europe. Each country has an act representing them, and people call in their votes. Based on the one episode I saw (the finale), I think they may have some sort of confusing electoral college type system in place, as well, since each nation sent a representative to announce its official votes, in English and French (la Suede, douze points!). In Ireland this year, Eurovision was quite the exciting event. The Irish act this year was a peculiar duo called "Jedward." Jedward are a set of twins with gravity-defyingly tall hair who wear metallic spandex space suits, dance around a lot, and drive 13-year-old girls absolutely nuts. They are among the worst singers I have ever heard, but I DON'T CARE. Jedward, as unbelievably strange as they are, have won me - and the whole of Ireland - over. I saw Jedward candy bars today. From the looks of it, every country loves their act just as much as the Irish love Jedward, but they mostly enjoy belittling the crap out of all the countries that aren't them. Despite the show's three plastic-y, terrifying hosts, the BBC had a team of commentators going in voice-over throughout the show. I am pretty sure their sole purpose was sass. They said during the commentary of one large-earringed woman, "She had better announce those votes before her ears fall off." While another vote-announcer was talking, they said, "I can't tell if that's a man or a woman." I, of course, had been thinking the same thing, but they just said it on multi-national television. Eurovision is so, so strange, and yet the people of Ireland eat it up - and so do I. Jedward 4eva.

Observation #4: The number of baby animals in this country is insane. Driving through the countryside, we obviously pass lots of farms and pastures full of cows and sheep and other nice things like that. In observing these pasture, though, I've noticed that the percent of these animals who are babies is way too high. "Too high" could be a misleading description, because, after all, there is no such thing as too many baby animals, unless it's possible to die of a cuteness overload. Numerically, though, I honestly think this number is impossible! It seems that for every full-grown sheep in Ireland, there are 7 newborn lambs. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm pretty sure most farm animals only really give birth to one baby at a time. There cannot be this many baby animals in Ireland! Between that and the 70-degrees-and-sunny weather we've been having, I think this whole tour is designed to convince us that Ireland is actually completely perfect, even when it's statistically impossible to be so. (Note: Now that I have said this, the clouds will part and it will rain ceaselessly for the rest of tour.)

As the Irish would say, I tink tat's about all for now. Our last legs of the tour are Galway and Edinburgh, Scotland - with any luck, I'll publish another post about those. I hope all of you back home are enjoying your Memorial Day hot dogs on the grill and the Indy 500; if you need me, I'll be here with the baby sheep. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ireland Tour: The Early Days

Well, folks, I've now been in Ireland for three full days, and since I have Internet access now and may never again, I figured I'd better write something sooner rather than later. So here you have it: everything I've learned about Ireland in just under 72 hours.

Lesson #1: Doors can be (and, in the case of Ireland, are) an art form. From the houses I've seen so far, I think most people put more effort into the design and upkeep of their front doors than they do the upkeep of the entire rest of their lives. There have been green doors, purple doors, hot pink doors, even two striped doors, which really just seemed like overkill. Clearly, in this country, non-creative people are not allowed.

Lesson #2: The stereotype of 'creepy toothless Irish dude with heavy brogue who sits at the bar and hits on girls' is real and takes a human form in a man named David, whom we met last night at the pub. (Yes we went out on Wednesday. And also Tuesday. YOLO.) (Also, recall that the drinking age here is 18; none of this is illegal; please no one revoke my scholarship.) This man literally had no front teeth. I'm fairly certain he was sitting at the bar for the entire time we were there. Strangely, he knows exactly where Indiana is. I was more than a little creeped out by David.

Lesson #3, as taught by the principal of St. Louis Primary School, Dublin: Notre Dame is in Idaho.

Lesson #3B: In Ireland, toothless bar creeps know American geography, and elementary school principals do not. I am concerned for this country.

Lesson #4: Hostels. Are. The. Sketchiest. Supposedly, the hostel we stayed in in Dublin was, by hostel standards, pretty luxurious. When we arrived, half of our rooms were not ready. The free wifi only worked in the lobby (#firstworldproblems). I spent most of today thinking my cell phone had been stolen by one of the front desk clerks/cleaning guys who, while attractive, were highly shady. (For the record, it's not lost. I found it in my suitcase where two-days-younger me had apparently tried to hide it from current me.) You had to press the 'faucet' every six seconds or so to keep the water on in the shower, and each time, you risked the water coming out at an absolute trickle.The exception to this sketchiness was the hostel cafe, The Bald Barista. Not only was this cafe lovely, but it also had an actual bald barista! The complete lack of irony thrills me! The rest of the hostel, however, did not. Hostels suck.

Lesson #5: Irish countryside >>>>> Dublin

Lesson #6: In direct opposition to hostels, host families are the best thing in the world. My host parents for the night, Peter and Phil (who is a woman, by the way) are 'semi-retired', liberal playwrights. Their house is completely adorable, and their neighborhood is as perfect as Privet Drive with the joy and cuteness of Sesame Street. After our concert tonight, their neighbor and the two Folk Choir boys she's hosting came over for tea and desserts. They made us cupcakes with sprinkles and smiley faces on them. And just when I started to think that P-Squared - as I've been affectionately calling them since just now when I made it up - surely cannot be real and must simply be cyborgs crafted by the cute factory, they wowed us with over an hour of lively discussion about Irish history and more knowledge of American politics than I ever had, and I'm an American Studies major. I love these people. If I could convince them to adopt me, I would probably never return to the US ever again.

Lesson #7: Small-town Irish priests should never be given the last word at a concert, because they will talk for 15 minutes. We learned this lesson firsthand at the concert tonight. Father Willie (not making this up), we love you. But had you said 'Oh and one more thing' one more time, the Teach Bhride-ers in the front row would have actually died from laughing so hard, and I would eventually have lost the ability to stand on my blistered, sore feet and simply collapsed in a heap on the altar.

Lesson #8: The human nose is simply not meant to be in close proximity to a bus-aisle floor. And on a related note...

Lesson #8B: Angels can, in fact, get nosebleeds.

At this point, since the clock on this computer reads '00:46,' I suppose I had better go to bed. Keep your eyes peeled for another post soon, hopefully, and if you don't see one, be prepared for a monster post once I get back. May the road rise to meet you, readers, and may you always stay with host families and not in hostels.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Praise of iPad

As many of you may already know, this time next Monday, I will be on a plane, probably somewhere over rural Pennsylvania, en route to Ireland. I'm going to Ireland (and eventually Scotland) for a two-week tour with my choir. I anticipate that it will be incredibly awesome - if for no other reason than the fact that the legal drinking age in Ireland is approximately five - but luggage size requirements are, unfortunately, keeping me from bringing my laptop. To ameliorate this problem of my inability to communicate with my family/check Facebook/write this blog, etc, and because we wanted one and we got a good deal, we decided to buy an iPad. So far, it's turning out to be pretty much the best decision of our lives. In this post - which, for the record, I am indeed writing from my iPad - I will briefly explain some of the thousands of ways in which the iPad is making my life and the general world a better place.

 Firstly and most importantly, let's talk about games. Obviously, the only reason I even upgraded to a smart phone was so that I could constantly and easily waste my life playing Angry Birds and Draw Something. Now that I have an iPad, this life-wasting has become even easier! On an iPad screen, I can actually see, in detail, the exquisitely crude structures that those pesky little pigs (read: weirdos in some Silicon Valley control room) design. Of course, I have to scroll back and forth across the screen to see both the pigs and my avian catapult at the same time. But it's all so big and awesome-looking!! On the topic of big and awesome-looking, the biggest advantage of the iPad, both at this point and probably forever, is the massive upgrade it affords me in Draw Something competition. How many times, my fellow "drawsome" artists, have you painstakingly labored over a complex, three-point word, only to have your efforts foiled by a misplaced swipe by your pudgy fingers on that impractically tiny little screen? With the weirdly enormous iPad screen, this problem is no more. I can create masterpieces! I can write out entire sentences! When faced with the word "Jordan," I can draw not only a vaguely racist picture of Michael in his Bulls jersey, but also a low-quality copy of the deceptively complicated Air Jordan logo - without even straining for space! Friends, if you wondered why I've been dominating you lately, you now know.

When I'm not using my iPad to embarrass both my friends and myself on Draw Something, I am, of course, using it to become a more informed, productive, and generally intelligent member of society by reading! My first and most brain-exercising eBook endeavor consisted of reading the copyright info and cover page of Stephen Colbert's new book, "I Am a Pole, And So Can You!" I would have read more, but I have no money, and that is where the free sample ended. (This, of course, is the first of many reasons why real books are superior to their technologically-advanced counterparts. Were I reading this as a real book in a real bookstore, I'm confident that I could have polished off at least a chapter before a green-apron-clad employee found me and kicked me out of the store. Sampling real books, while a lot less legal, is a lot more fun.) After this first experiment, I upgraded to a full-length book - that I (okay, my mom) paid for and everything! This book is Joel Stein's "Man Made." So far, I'm loving it just as much as I love Joel Stein himself, namely, way more than is normal. I've been convinced for years that, were I a Jewish male instead of a Catholic female, I would be Joel Stein. This book is confirming that suspicion, page by side-splitting page. This book has also taught me that my car is manlier than Joel Stein's, which is distressing. However, the best part about reading this book on my iPad is that I'm reading it at all. Given that Logansport is an uncultured hick town and has closed down every bookstore it has ever had, I am pretty stranded here when it comes to new reading material. With the iPad, all the new reading material in the world is literally at my fingertips. Luckily, my only source of money for these eBooks is iTunes cash, which, since we buy it in $25 increments, runs out very, very quickly. Left to my own devices and a credit card, I would, by this point, be several million dollars in debt.

 And finally, the iPad affords me the unique ability to simultaneously look both very wealthy and very stupid. Since we got the latest, fanciest model, and since no one in Logansport has really caught on to the whole iPad thing ("iPad? Who makes that, Tampax?"), carrying this baby around lets everyone know that I am rich, tech-savvy, and probably important . The secret, of course, is that I am none of these things. Best Buy had a sweet deal going and we tricked their system by opening a credit card that we will never again use. I have basically no clue how to use this thing to do anything but download and play games I already mastered in miniature on my phone, read books (as I have been doing since the early 1990s), and do simple tasks that make me look incredibly foolish. And as for being important? Well, to put it simply, I have very few leather-bound books, and my apartment (read: dorm room) smells not of mahogany but of Bath and Body Works and, as my dad recently declared, "carrion." But when carrying an iPad, all of these pesky truths are masked by an air of elitist awesomeness. At the same time, though, the iPad allows me to look like a complete idiot. Currently, I am trying moronically to type on a keyboard just small enough to completely destroy the immaculate typing practices I learned through years of elementary-school computer classes. This afternoon, I tried my hand at iPad photography. For those of you who are unaware, there are few dumber sights than a person taking pictures or videos on an iPad. As I've discussed already, the iPad is really, really large. In turn, holding the iPad up in front of your face to take a picture makes you look really, really stupid. This is what I did all afternoon while sitting in the handicapped section of McHale watching children's choir practice. And in case I didn't look stupid enough taking pictures with an iPad, I eventually realized that, despite my firm grip on the direct center of each end of the machine, I was not even remotely blocking the lens. Based on the lens location on anything else I've ever taken photographs with, this fact confused me, and I spent the next several minutes combing the device for a lens like a puzzled zoo monkey investigating its lunch. I am quite certain that these kids all went home and told their parents all about the weird barefoot girl with the iPad who provided their entertainment at choir practice today.

 So, in conclusion, iPad, I think I like you. I can read books like I live somewhere with a bookstore, I can dominate my friends on Draw Something, I can look really important, AND I can look really stupid. Ultimately, what more could you really need in a piece of technology? Readers, be prepared for more of these typo-ridden posts in the next couple of weeks from the Emerald Isle. Joel Stein, if, by some strange chance, you are reading this, rest assured in my firm promise that I am not a stalker. And Apple, for this sparkling review of what is largely your most pointless product, you are welcome.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Triumphant Return of Baby Sarah

Well, folks, for those of you who don't know, my sophomore year at Notre Dame is now officially over. To celebrate this fact - and to avoid thinking about the reality that I am now halfway done with college - I've decided to re-read my journal from my freshman year of high school and share with you all the best nuggets of wisdom from 14-year-old me. Enjoy!

September 11: She thinks she is this Fosse explosion. She isn't that good and she knows it. She pretends she is anyway.

December 10: Cuz while I liked [boy], I wanted not to, like, more than life.

December 20: Both [friend] and [friend] think that means he definitely likes me. YAY! I so hope that's the case. I was going to add him on MSN (to find out if he likes me) but according to [friend], who doesn't even know his addy anyway, he never gets on. GRRR!

December 23: OH MY GOD! THANK GOD FOR MYSPACE!!!! Any bad thing I ever said about MySpace, I hereby renounce! TGFMS!

December 28: So then on Sunday - Christmas Eve - I sat at home all day in my pajamas and my glasses (I didn't even touch my hair.) All I ate all day was Jell-O. And the icing on that great fricking cake? At perhaps 4:00 in the afternoon, I'm sitting there, the only one home, and the doorbell rings. I knew nothing but bad could come of that. But I trudge to the door and check to see who it is. It's [FIRST NAME] EFFING [LAST NAME]! The most gorgeous guy in the entire class of 2009! That was really just GREAT.

January 1: Why must everything be so complicated? I'm going to share all the crap that's gone down lately in chronological order.

But the possibility presents itself that perhaps [boy] wasn't lying to [Friend A], but instead to [Friend B], and he actually does like me. In which case, God KNOWS what I'm going to do.

January 4: So today was the first day of the 2nd semester. Hoo-freaking-rah. I was in both 2nd and 3rd period with [boy], and that's when I realized two things. One: He was NOT lying to [Friend B]. Two: He's a pathetic, wimpy loser.

January 6: In English, he sits at a good vantage point for me to end up inadvertently looking at him all the time, which is not necessarily unpleasant on the eyes, but is very hard on the emotions.


January 14: A furry shoe does not belong anywhere in this world, really, but especially not with a suit. And if, for some completely insane reason, you must wear a furry shoe with a suit, it should at least be a style which would normally be considered dressy and okay to wear with a suit, were it not covered in fur.

February 9: In French today, Reichert said, "[boy] est intelligent, smart," and [boy] says, "Oh, that's what that means? I thought it meant 'good-looking.'" Self-absorbed jerk.


February 13: Yep. Another snow day. Cass County is under a "snow emergency" right now (there's a 45-foot drift just outside town, as we learned from the WEATHER CHANNEL). At this point, since the six weeks ends in three days, I'm putting my biology grade in the hands of God.

February 14: I'm only writing in pink because it's Valentine's Day. But while I'm wearing/writing in pink everything today, my mood is totally black.

February 16: I just realized THE line to describe how I'm feeling right now about [boy]: "I wish I knew how to quit you!" Okay, so yes, it's from Brokeback Mountain, yes, it's one of the most made fun of lines in the history of cinema, and yes, in its original context, it was spoken from cowboy to cowboy. But it's so accurate! I should write a poem or something about it. But not now.

February 23: I must note this now so that I can remember it forever. I must never forget the time [trombonist] yelled in the band room before a basketball game: "[SAXOPHONIST], YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS NOT A PETTING ZOO."

March 10: In the competition of who had the better time at Sweethearts, we both lost.

March 12: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! WOO-HOO! In the immortal words of London Tipton from "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," YAY ME!

March 21: GAAAHHH!! [boy] and [girlfriend] broke up!! He broke up with her Monday and in the process even called her a bitch, like, to her face.

"Something like Wednesday, March 28": You know something? I'm really crazy about the heading of this entry. "Something like Wednesday March 28." Doesn't that sound like a book title?

April 1: So now I have to really step it up as English team captain and really try to qualify us for state, since it's the coach's last year. She's not asking it, but it's like, if we don't make it to state, I will feel like absolute SCUM. It's like if some dying old lady tells you to do something, and you don't, and then she DIES. IT'S UP TO ME TO HONOR OUR COACH'S DYING WISH!

April 6: But last night, a totally new player entered the game (btw when I say player, I don't mean, like, pimp).

May 22: Yesterday in class, [teacher] let us work in pairs on something, and [boy] asked if he could work with me. I "begrudgingly" said yes (wink wink).

May 25: So graduation is tonight. Whatever. There are very few of these people I'm going to miss.

(On May 28 and May 29, I drew detailed pictures of my eraser after, at school those days, it was stabbed with a pen and subsequently ripped in half.)

May 29: Like, this is probably the most self-contradictory journal in the history of man.

Later, [friend] just HAS to say to me and [boy], "You two would make the cutest couple." She is just going on and on about how we should get married. Then, after staring at us intently while we argue, she says, "I'm trying to picture your kids." I hate that [friend] is ALWAYS RIGHT.

For my careers class interview, I was interviewed by my sister's best friend's dad. Convenient! It was either him, [recent LHS grad] (who I did NOT want - I'm smarter than him!), or Mr. [principal] (who I didn't want for obvious reasons).

June 1: I hate him. Well, I don't. But I do. I realize that makes no sense. But you know what it means!

June 2, under the heading "*<3 THE YEAR IN REVIEW <3*":
BEST TV SHOW: Drake & Josh
DUMBEST SONG THAT I <3: "Umbrella" by Rihanna
DUMBEST SONG, PERIOD: "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado
LOOK-ALIKES: [friend] and Lilly from Hannah Montana; [random male classmate] and the music box monkey from Phantom of the Opera 
Alas, I'm out of things to say, so I guess I must go. In the immortal words of Fall Out Boy, Thnkx Fr Th Mmrs! [friend] and I are intending to someday bind our journals from this year. But for now, my mostly [boy]-related freshman year saga is complete.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tests Are Stupid

For the past few days, I've been trying desperately to think of a good topic for a new post, but I've found myself preoccupied by the final exams I have to take this week. As I took to Facebook and Twitter to procrastinate and search for inspiration, it became clear that I'm not the only one with tests on the brain. Finals are either just ending or just beginning at pretty much every university in the country (sorry, UChicago), ACT scores are coming back, and today is the latest episode in the never-ending melodrama that is the SAT. With all these tests going on, then, I figured it was only appropriate for me to write about tests and all the reasons why I hate them.

I first realized the stupidity of tests at a very young age. Back in those days, we had the dreaded ISTEP tests. Every September, school would grind to a halt for five days so the student body could be tested on how many sides there are in a triangle and whether Joe and Sally went to the zoo in a story called "Joe and Sally Go to the Zoo." Surprisingly, my sharpest memories from these exams were quite fond - during ISTEP, after all, we were able (and indeed, practically forced) to bring in enough snacks for a small army...for test-taking energy!

As time went on, though, the educators of America got wise to the fact that placing such emphasis on testing snacks was doing plenty for our national obesity rates but exactly nothing for our test scores. By middle school, snacks had to be "healthy" (read: disgusting), and teachers had to actually devote serious time to ISTEP prep. Since ISTEP fell so early in the school year, this essentially meant that, until ISTEP was over, nothing happened in the classroom except preparation for the test. Being the fairly intelligent, easily bored middle schooler that I was, I needed an extra month of 2+2 like I needed a hole in the head. It was during this time, I think, that I first began to realize how stupid tests were.

Then there was high school and, along with it, the most reviled objects of scorn of the entire high school universe - the SAT and ACT. If you care even remotely about getting into college, it's drilled into you early that you can't simply write these tests off as stupid. Your life depends on these tests. While that is essentially true, that fact in itself is extremely stupid. Let me tell you a little something about the SAT and ACT. According to the ACT, I am a science genius. If I remember correctly, the science portion of the ACT consists of five sections. The first section left me completely stumped. I spent so long trying to decode it, in fact, that by the time the proctor gave the five-minute warning, I was still on section one. I did all the rest of the test in five minutes. I know nothing about science. The ACT graders clearly do not know what they are talking about. According to the SAT, meanwhile, my writing is just sort of...meh. My extremely mediocre score out of 12 on the SAT essay did not change from eighth grade (yes, I took the SAT in 8th grade, I'm a freak, I know) to my final SAT during junior year. I'm an English major. I have planned on being an English major since approximately the fourth grade. Generally speaking, I like to think I'm a pretty decent writer. Looking at my SAT writing score out of 800, it's obvious that the SAT people can't even come to a consensus on it themselves. The college-going fates of every student in America depends on these tests, and these tests quite clearly do an accurate job of representing just about nothing. Let's all say it together now: tests are stupid.

But now that I'm a sophomore/rising-junior-in-five-days in the College of Arts and Letters, I don't have to take science classes anymore. You'd think, then, that I shouldn't really have tests anymore, right?


This semester, I have three final exams. Looking at how they're set up, though, I can't even complain about this being a difficult undertaking. Again, I'm forced to come to the conclusion that tests are really, really stupid. My first final this week consists of one question, which was given to us to start working on weeks ago. We're allowed to bring in an outline. My second final is take-home and, thus, open-book and open-note. My third final consists of three sets of questions, two of which have already been given to us. Yes, this makes my life a lot easier, but I have to ask - what exactly is the point of this? These tests will certainly refresh my knowledge on the course materials, but they're not exactly going to test me. Meanwhile, my friends in the College of Science are killing themselves trying to study for exams so difficult, my eyes would explode upon taking a mere glance at their cover pages.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have no intention of staging a sit-in to make Arts & Letters professors give me more difficult tests. I'm not bitter about standardized tests because my scores were bad; in fact, the looks I get from people who've just heard my SAT score are just about the same looks you'd get after yelling "I have leprosy" in a public shower. But for everyone out there who's stressing out about exams, comfort should be taken in the fact that tests are really just silly. I mean, should you still take your tests and study for them and try to avoid failing at tests and, you know, life? Yes. (Unless you really feel like stickin' it to the man and abandoning the system in favor of becoming a dirty hippie. That works, too.) Remember, in a few years, the only tests you'll have to worry about are semi-annual vision tests - and you don't even have to study for those!