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An update on my life.

Rating: 2 votes, 1.00 average.
Two weeks ago I took the biggest exam of my life; my final comprehensive exam for my Master's Degree in History. I walked in to the exam, received my prompt, and discovered that it was the same prompt as the one from two weeks before.

You see, I originally took in in September, and failed that. My retake for that was on the 3rd of April, and when I walked in and received my prompt, I realized that my teacher had committed an error in the prompt; she was essentially asking me to answer a single essay question regarding Ahmed Shah Massoud, an Afghan freedom fighter during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then the resulting civil war the followed. She was asking me to incorporate how he formed the Northern Alliance for the fight against the Soviets, and anything else that was relevant.

Problem was...the Northern Alliance did not exist in the 1980s, when the war was fought. The Northern Alliance was indeed formed by Massoud, but not until 1996, following the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban. So I took it to the proctor (the professor is on sabbatical) and the exam was rescheduled.

Enter the second retake. Same question is there. Apparently I was supposed to work with the error, as it was intentional. Not knowing what to do, I spent the first 10-20 minutes (I only get 90) compiling my thoughts and trying to figure out how to work with this. I realized that I could write about the Supervisory Council of the North, which was formed by Massoud during the 1980s to fight against the Soviets, and was in many ways a forerunner to the Northern Alliance. Frantically writing this essay, I incorporated Massoud, the transition between the Supervisory Council to the Northern Alliance, how it all related to the war in Afghanistan (both the Soviet war and the civil war) and a relevant historiography (part of the prompt).

Immediately afterwards, panicking, I sent emails to the heads of the department expressing my concern over what I felt was a trick question. You see, I spent the last three years of my life in the program. No one in my family believed it was worth it, and in fact several of them believed it was a waste of time, money, and that I was basically messing around. The fact that it took an extra semester also affected my entry into the credential program this semester, delaying me for another half year. This exam was my last chance; having already failed it once, if I failed it again it would have meant ending the program without the degree. I was very worried that if I failed it would have only confirmed those beliefs to everyone. Worst of all, I would have disappointed myself and my girlfriend, who has been very supportive.

I did not sleep that night. In fact I did not sleep at all between Sunday night through Wednesday, with my exam having been on Tuesday. I was extremely exhausted, mentally and physically drained (I worked for eight hours the night before my exam and did not have any time to rest) and overall stressed over everything. But on Wednesday morning I checked my email, with the subject of an email beginning with "Congratulations Mr. _______!".

Words cannot express how happy I am to have passed that. And after one more year in the credential programming coming up, I will finally be done with my education at the age of 25, and be ready to begin teaching others the joys of history.


  1. Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
  2. Junaidi83 de Bodemloze's Avatar
    Glad to see another young and promissing teacher , keep the spirit alive :yes:
  3. Squid's Avatar
    Congratulations!! I know how stressful completing a Master's degree can be, so make sure you enjoy this moment in the spotlight. Make sure you walk across the stage since you'll only be able to do it once!!
  4. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
    Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

    Squid, I actually walked last May because I figured I would be done in the Fall. A lot of my friends from the program were graduating then and I wanted to walk with them because they were great to be in the program with, and my teachers did not mind. After I had failed in the fall I felt foolish, but if I had failed again meaning no degree I would have been absolutely embarrassed. So I'm not walking again because it would be weird, and because I honestly do not want to do it again. I'll probably walk again for the credential program though since I'm pretty sure they do that.
  5. Mhaedros's Avatar
    Congratulations mate, you'll make a great teacher I'm sure
  6. Quintus Hortensius Hortalus's Avatar
  7. Aikanár's Avatar
    Congratulations, friend Chris :)
  8. Halie Satanus's Avatar
  9. PikeStance's Avatar
    What level do you plan on teaching?
  10. Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar
    Gratz. :thumbsup2

    Did they say anything in reply about the question? I imagine after passing you don't really care now, but it'd be interesting to see what they said. :P
  11. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
    Shanky, my grad director said that if I disagreed with the outcome (failed) I could dispute it. It has happened before. A friend of mine was supposed to fail his exam and he and his professor spent an hour and a half discussing the exam, the topic of the class in general, etc, and at the end of it he passed him. So it isn't ALWAYS an end. But my teacher is in Costa Rica so that makes a face to face rather difficult.
  12. Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar
    Glad to hear there was that net in place in case things didn't work out, gladder still they did!