December 15 Day 282: Magical Thinking or Avoidance Behavior?

Two days of oral finals completed and three days to go. Patterns from earlier in the quarter remain consistent. For some reason, students schedule interviews for the last possible minute. The number of interviews increases each day. Thank goodness the growth isn’t exponential.

Is it magical thinking or avoidance behavior that motivates their scheduling? Do they believe that the extra time will grant wisdom and knowledge? I sincerely hope they find the strength and concentration to take advantage of the extra day or two to reflect, review, and relearn the material. I suspect they are avoiding reality. In the best of times, students are exhausted by the end of the 10-week marathon and few perform at their best during finals. With remote learning in the times of corona, everything is intensified including stress, anxiety, and self-delusion. Postponing the final interview until the very last moment means they don’t have to face the reality of their situation. If you don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist, right?

I continually remind students that their value as human beings is not determined by test scores or class grades. They get to define success for themselves and in these unprecedented times, it may take on a different look.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: