Every three months or so over the last half century or so I've had my Finals nightmare. They vary slightly in detail and duration, but the fundamentals are the same. I dream that I'm about to go into a fortnight of exams and I'm more (usually) or less (occasionally) unprepared. On one extreme occasion I was taking exams in a different subject altogether. You wake from such tormented sleep and say "Thank goodness! That was only a dream".
Now however it is not a dream. On 4 June I have to submit the following:
- A bibliography about the thesis I will write in my final term containing one hundred items, twenty five of which should have a critical summary of the book or article attached
- A piece of between 1,000 and 1,500 words in the style of an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, using the precise format used by actual contributors to the work, or an essay on a group of people with similar identifiers, the majority having entries in the dictionary
- An essay of between 6,000 and 8,000 words with a biographical slant
Additionally, next Tuesday I need to give my fellow-students a twenty minute discourse on How Symons Quested Corvo: this particular soufflé is still half-baked.
For reasons which would take far too much time to explain here, the subjects of my thesis, my ODNB entry and my essay are in the process of changing. I am therefore having to go through our diary and cancel or postpone as many social occasions as practical and to realise that any further posts to this blog until 4 June will only be written if they are, like the previous two, recording something relevant to my undertaking these tasks.
Less than four weeks to go! Sweet dreams?