A modern tragedy

Photo: Reyer Boxem

A modern tragedy

By Niall Torris
21 April om 10:36 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:20 uur.
April 21 at 10:36 AM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:20 PM.

Quarantine is a bizarre time. I’ve gone from hanging around Groningen to a Dublin lockdown in seconds. Work and study during on weekdays followed by weekends stumbling through the door in the wee hours of the morning have been replaced. Now its early nights and staying inside all week. I reckon I’ve made enough cheesecakes to feed a small army too (one with an incredibly sweet tooth).

As if this wasn’t enough, last week I had the surreal experience of sitting at my kitchen table to take an exam online. I find exams terrifying at the best of times, particularly statistics, and there’s always lots to organise between studying, practice questions, and trying not to give myself a panic attack along the way. Honestly, I’d always imagined that taking an exam online would be calmer, but it really wasn’t…

First, I had to find a printer for my t-tables and formula sheet, the accountant at work rescued me there (Cheers John). Ireland isn’t exactly known for its abundant high-speed broadband either, so I had to test my phone hotspot to see if it was quick enough… thankfully, it worked (mostly).

Finally, I negotiated exclusive use of the kitchen for two hours at lunchtime with my housemates and our numerous dogs. This wasn’t ideal, but we managed (the pups were very unhappy, particularly Patín).

I reckon I’ve made enough cheesecakes to feed a small army too (one with an incredibly sweet tooth)

Overall, though, the exam was going okay aside from minor technical issues which were probably due to my internet connection. But then disaster struck. I gleefully realised that after 35 questions I was about to nail question 36, double-checked my answer and clicked save just as the timer ticked into the final minute. Then I was met with a gigantic red error message and the exam forced itself closed. Brilliant.

I mailed the lecturer but there was little he could do so I resigned myself to waiting for the result. It seems I wasn’t alone though, because the next day I got an email telling me that following numerous reports the Examination Commission are investigating issues with the timer. Good news in a way, but I’d imagine that means a delay getting results too. Woo…

I really don’t want to be overly negative here because I know everyone at UG is trying hard to make things work… But now that this exam (like many others) has been cancelled, postponed, moved online, postponed again, and now this, I’m almost ready to conclude that going online isn’t really working.

But what are we supposed to do?


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