Today I had my second exam in Human Nutrition.
It was exhausting. Here is one of the essay questions on the study guide:
Discuss, in detail, the digestion and absorption of dietary protein from the time it enters the mouth until it enters circulation. Identify the enzymes involved in protein digestion. Discuss where they are produced and secreted, how they are activated, and what they digest.
In my previous life, an essay question might have been something like: Identify and analyze 3-5 symbols Browning uses in “Fra Lippo Lippi.” How do they function both on their own and within the overall conceit of the poem?**
As long as I had read the poem, I could answer this essay question in my sleep. A Master’s in English is basically a Master’s in BSing your way through anything.
The science question? Cannot be BSed. I had to make this chart on my computer to keep it all straight:
Then, to study, I hand wrote it – along with three others – more and more from memory – over and over and over. I remember things better when I write them down. Typing isn’t really the same.
I guesstimate that I have written the word procarboxypeptidase approximately 12 times today, not including this one.
Anyway, my friend D and I met up a few hours before the exam to study. The night before, I was up until about three am finishing the study guide and, well, studying. So I was already running on empty before the upcoming insanity ensued.
Yes, I do get really wordy when I’m tired. Why do you ask?
We went to the quietest corner of the library, on the third floor, and began going crazy trying to remember the different types of lipoproteins, where they’re produced, and the fats and apolipoproteins that comprise them (yes, this is exactly as painful as it sounds. Unless you’re a doctor and already know all this backwards and forwards, in which case, quit bragging).
About an hour in, a construction crew set up right above us on the fourth floor and began rhythmically SLAMMING on the floor and using incredibly loud machines. It sounded like they were dismantling a concrete wall, as we could also hear heavy bricks (or whatever they were) crumbling and falling on the floor.
We briefly debated the pros and cons of taking the test vs. being hit on the head with a falling concrete brick. We kept studying.
With only twenty minutes left to study, we decided to quit working separately and start quizzing each other from the study guide for a change of pace. I’d ask her five questions, then she’d ask me five, and so on.
I had asked her three when the fire alarm went off.
This is a true story, kids.
We then debated the merits of taking the test vs. being trapped in the library and waiting for cute firemen to come rescue us. It was a close call, but ultimately decided for us – the librarians herded us all out into the sunshine. At least it was quiet.
We got to the classroom a little early, and D said, “I’m going to need to be held after this exam.”
Our instructor, Professor L., without looking up, said, “I’ll hold you. Don’t worry.” At this point, delirious with lack of sleep, the sounds of construction and a fire alarm still blaring in my head, and completely frazzled and unorganized due to having shoved all my stuff into my book bag helter-skelter, I don’t think anything in the world could possibly have been funnier.
**Robert Browning is one of my favorite poets. The story of him and his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, is one of the most romantic, real-life fairy-tale love stories in the history of all time. Someday I’ll tell you about it.