I am 36. The exam for a class I have been taking was yesterday. While I did feel sorry for the undergrads who had to take it, I was mostly relieved that graduate students had been spared the torture of sitting in a large hall, scribbling away copiusly in blue exam notebooks. We had to turn in a long paper instead, which I have been living, breathing sleeping (mostly the latter) for the past several weeks.
When I expressed my sympathy for the undergraduates, and my personal relief to the Professor, he expressed a similar sentiment. “I will die if I have to take these exams again.” “Why do you make life more difficult for the undergraduate students, then?” “Come on, they are undergrads. They deserve it.”
I wondered if I could ever go through the motions of cramming, retaining, accessing and regurgitating all that information in a three-hour exam, as I had done till I was 22. Can I ever cope with that pace of studying again? I don’t think so. Nor did my professor. Does that mean we get dumber as we get older? I console myself by saying, that we simply change from being sprinters to marathon runners.