I could barely see. Green stuff was running out of my nose. I still had to take the test with the rest of my class.
In my fifth year of college, winter quarter, the fifth week of school, I caught something. I had no idea what it was. It knocked me down so hard that I was worried that I would need to drop out.
Quarters were ten weeks long; the fifth week of the quarter was when midterms were given. A zero on the midterm in a class with two tests meant failure.
I had three tough classes. All three were required to graduate in June. I had introduced myself to all three professors at the start of the quarter but had no issues, so I had not returned to any of their offices. I called in during their office hours to explain my situation.
“I’m sick, I won’t be able to make it to school to take the midterms. Can I take the test next week?”
In two classes, the professors allowed me to take the test a week later than the other students understanding I would not cheat. Thank you, professors.
In my third class, an Electrical Engineering Design class, the professor was not as trusting.
He asked me if I could sit up. I said, “Yes, I could.” he said, “I will see you at the test Ms. Crowe. If you can sit up, you can take the test.”
I had to take the test with everyone else — no dispensation for any reason. The fact that I was hot then cold then hot did not matter. I came to school to take the test. I arrived half an hour early so I could prepare for the exam.
I came to class with clothing thrown on top of my pajamas. My hair was uncombed. There was a constant white grit in my swollen eyes. As soon as I rubbed the grit out, it came back. They were eye boogers.
You could see the little pink hearts peeking out of the ends of my sleeves and the bottoms of my jeans. I suspect I smelled. I brought an electric blanket and ran an extension cord across the room to an outlet. I wasn’t cold yet, but I would be.
I had a big electric teapot full of hot water. I took three Tylenol and prepared myself a cup of tea. I sipped at my tea. I pulled out my first box of tissues.
The professor came into the room a few minutes early with two proctors. They look at me but said nothing. I sat there in misery.
Other students joined us. On the o’clock, the proctors passed out the exam. I took the test from the teaching assistant (TA) and away I went.
Three times during the sixty-minute test, I had coughing fits; twice I put my head down because I was dizzy, who knows how many times I sneezed, but I was there. I might have turned green. I sure felt green.
The stuff coming out of my nose was mid-size green chunks floating in slimy green mucus. Despite my best efforts, all of it was not captured in the tissues. When I sneezed into my hands, I had to wipe my hands on tissues, then touch my paper. I didn’t have time to run to the bathroom each time I sneezed to wash my hands.
The surrounding seats cleared after the first set of coughing fits. I wish you could have seen the other students moving away from me as fast as they could. I imagined this was how “Typhoid Mary” was treated. It was funny. They clutched their papers and jumped away from my area like little scared monkeys. I laughed hysterically until I cried on my test paper. My paper was limp and damp.
The professor scowled at me. The TA walked over and stood by me as I continued trying to work the problems. Hell, I could barely see out of my swollen eyes.
At the end of the test, everyone took their paper down to the professor. I was so slow descending the steps that the lecture hall was empty by the time I got reached the bottom of the stairs. By now, my test paper was not in the greatest shape. It was wet with tears, tea, mucus and who knew what else. My answers were a little smeared. I was pleased as I was not dead.
I attempted to turn in my paper; the professor would not take it.
Instead, he said, “Miss. Crowe, keep that test. Will you take a C for effort?”
I peered at him and said, “A high C?”
He and the TA stared at me incredulously. The almost dead was trying to negotiate.
I aggressively pushed my paper at them. I felt something creep out of my nose. I reached for the tissue on the professor’s desk. He backed up.
“Yes,” he said.
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Neither the professor nor his TA wanted anything to do with the test that had been in my possession for sixty minutes. He didn’t want me in his office for a make-up test either. The TA didn’t want my germs or viruses in his small office.
Most excellent. I passed that class with a “B” and graduated in the Spring. Never let a jerk get you down.
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My book, From Zero to Hero, Supercharge Your Finances with a College Degree, contains more stories of my college adventures. My books are available on Amazon.
I can be reached at https://www.tonicrowewriter.com/