Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Comps, Comps, Comps

My last three weeks have been almost entirely focused on one thing: comps. Comps, or comprehensive exams, are essentially the last barrier, the final gate keeper to keep students out of the clubhouse of being official librarians. Two days of testing sessions, three hours each. They ask five questions each day, and you have to answer two in a academic-style essay, complete with references to appropriate literature. The questions can be about any topic related to librarianship, and that perhaps is the worst part: not really knowing what will be asked. So you study everything, soaking up as much as you can and trying to focus on what you think the faculty will want you to focus on.

I felt nervous as hell when I got there the first day. My heart was jam-jam-jammering in my chest and my stomach felt like it wanted to separate from my body and walk away. I wasn't alone. People were cramming until the last minute and everyone seemed to have their own personal nervous tic (finger-tapping, pencil twirling, hair twisting) on full display. A woman in the row behind was chatting with someone and talking about how much she needed to pass. She already had a job starting in June on the condition she passed all her tests. But to top it off, her husband had just lost his job. As bad as my nerves were, I'm sure hers were a lot worse.

Once the computers were on and I had the questions in hand, I felt better. It took away the mystique of the whole affair and, once made real, took away some of its power of me. I think I did ok overall----two of the four questions I answered I feel like I did pretty well on. The other two I probably did well enough. But now the waiting game begins. It'll take about a month before we get the results. In the meantime I have classwork, reviews, and real life to catch up on. Until next time....


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