“A Novelist In Business School” is, make that was, a series about putting my literary arts brain through formal management training.
And just like that, it’s over. Kinda. Always “kinda”.
A couple of weeks ago I took my last final. Instead of taking it from home, with the super-creepy remote proctoring service, I opted to go onto campus, like a real student, and take it in a classroom. This was probably a good choice.
Even though I’m getting business degree my last class was a programming class. I opted to take all tech-based electives to get a “Graduate Certificate in Information Systems;” effectively a degree add-on that says I’m good with computers and whatnot. So my last class was a Java programming class aimed at business students who have never written code before. Given that I’ve been a professional programmer for well over a decade it was somewhat below my level. In other words, I’ve been seriously bored.
But back to the final. I finished the midterm in about thirty-five minutes and I was determined to beat my own record on the final. Ten multiple choice questions, four coding questions, one coding extra credit question. I was shooting for a clean half-hour.
Except the coding questions were more complex; which, yeah, I should have expected that. Still, I was finishing them at a rate of roughly one every ten minutes. I had submitted my code for the four “regular” questions and had started into the extra credit question. It was more nuanced and required some sophistication; I was enjoying myself. I was going to finish the class with a higher-than-one-hundred-percent grade.
And then my laptop crashed.
My code editor stopped responding. The test software runs in a browser, and my browser crashed. The software was apparently designed to submit whatever you had in the window when it closed, because when I re-started my computer and signed back in it reported that I had successfully submitted the final exam. My extra credit code had disappeared in the crash. I stared at my laptop for a few moments. I could fix this. I could ask the professor if I could just send him the code in an email. I could still get those extra points.
Except…why? The difference, in the grand scheme of things, is exactly nothing. Instead of getting an A in the class, I would end up getting an A in the class. As far as my transcript is concerned there is no difference whatsoever between 99.8% and 101.8%. (Or whatever the numbers would be.) So I just gathered up my stuff, smiled politely at the professor as I walked out, and sat down in the foyer to put my backpack together. This had taken fifty-eight minutes. I was still the first one done.
But somehow it didn’t feel real, it still doesn’t. Finishing my last final was supposed to be a moment of ultimate triumph. Instead it was a weird stumble and moment of humbling realization.
But still, classwork is done, which means I’m done! I graduated! Except…not really. I’ve already “walked”, commencement ceremony was held before this last semester. And while I’m not particularly concerned that I won’t pass my final two classes, the teachers haven’t submitted the grades yet, which means that my graduation hasn’t been processed yet, which means I’m only kinda done.
I hear Zeno laughing at me still.