Greetings Shimer Blog! This is Alexis, here to introduce myself. I have been encouraged for weeks to do a blog post, but have only recently regained the energy to write one that wouldn’t be a bit tainted by the slightly depressed mood that sort of goes along with reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment for my Humanities 2 class.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved reading it, perversely enjoying the feeling that takes over you as you are drawn into the world in which Raskolnikov and his fellow characters exist. After recovering from being slightly thrown off by the end of the epilogue (I won’t say any more on that as to keep from spoiling the ending to those who have not read it yet), I now begin the process of writing my final paper for Humanities about it.
Anyway, what I am here to write about is something that I will begin this Friday, called “the comp” or comprehensive exam. This takes place during that same time as writing week, except instead of doing a creative project for a week I will be immersed in studiously writing a total of three take-home essays on the subject of whatever reading material that will be given out on Friday. This will be my first time doing a “comp”, but I have been advised to try and do all my reading during the weekend and take notes, as to lighten the stress of writing during the week.The exam also involves a discussion which takes place at the end of the week after the papers have been written.
There is a sort of mysterious nature to this event, as very little information is known about it until the date approaches and you are informed that there will be a meeting at which you will receive the reading material. A subject is chosen by the members of the faculty who are on the comp committee, and is not divulged until the material is given to everyone. A few of my facilitators have mentioned that we will be requested to make up a code name for ourselves that we use on our papers,as to keep the grading as objective as possible.
From what other students have suggested, the comprehensive exam is just that—a test of your ability to comprehend and integrate what you have learned in the time spent here at school, as well a test to make certain you are competent to progress on to the upper level of core and elective classes (the 3’s and 4’s). Generally the comp is taken during your second year at Shimer, although if you are a transfer student such as myself, you will probably take it at the end of your second semester. You must have taken six out of the first seven core classes (1’sand 2’s). From the amount of questioning I have done, I have gathered that this experience will be one of the most difficult yet rewarding challenges as a student here. In light of this, I am looking forward with a little apprehension and also some excitement to participating in this intense and rewarding demonstration of ability known as “the comp”. Wish me luck!