During FroshChem in the spring of 1999 a few people (both EastiePerson and ThirdFloorEastie alike) decided to get up and run around Galileo in the middle of the final. This really stressed a lot of people that were not doing so well in FroshChem that semester and almost got the runners into big trouble. The runners did a letter of apology and talked to the profs and stuff like that.
As one of the people involved with the FroshChemChineseFireDrill I would like to say that we definitely screwed up. Sure, it was first semester P/F FroshChem in the final that we had unlimited time, but that still meant that there were people who might fail (the F part of P/F). I can totally understand the issue with getting stressed over the exam if you might fail because of it. Besides, if it's okay to get up and run around and just plain cause a disturbance, then where do you draw the line? Would it also be okay to start yelling at the exam? What if it was during a graded course with a tough time limit? Would it be okay then?
Besides, there's nothing more frustrating during an exam than seeing/hearing about somebody that wasn't having trouble. This year I was taking a Quantum exam that I found so hard, and I was getting really frustrated with. Then, near the end of the exam, a frosh in the class handed his/her exam in and whispered (but not quietly enough, as I heard it) to ProfessorTownsend that the exam was too easy. At that point there I hit a wall and found that I couldn't even concentrate on the rest of the exam (not that I would have gotten any more problems, but maybe a couple more points). My morale had been defeated and it killed me right there. The same thing could have happened to a student taking the FroshChem exam and I was truly sorry to have upset anyone and I felt very guilty about my inconsideration and stupidity.
I have a couple of things to say about the above, most of which are going to be fairly rant-like. (note that I don't claim to have the moral good behind me or anything):
The propaganda and such, as well as the presentations about HarveyMuddCollege which I attended before I applied here (and you bitter people may say what you will about the college being less than ideal in many respects) led me to believe that on top of the high academic standards espoused by the school, it also prided itself on its offbeat sense of humor. Given that, I can't say I really pity anyone who comes here and takes a test in a crowded lecture hall and finds themselves so stressed out about it that they can't take a joke. Perhaps the timing could have been better--fifteen minutes in, rather than an hour, would have caught fewer people on the edge of despair. But on the whole, I think some people were overreacting. Sure, I can see the problem with a fifteen-minute diversion during a two hour test. But asking specifically "where do we draw the line?" is pointless--there have been times when I have temporarily lost my train of thought because somebody turned their test in FortyFiveMinutes early. Questions such as the above "is this okay?" need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Perhaps the largest distraction from the Fire Drill was not the Fire Drill itself, but the round of applause which followed (I recall most of the test-takers clapping; anybody want to correct the figure?). In the really un-PC department, I'm tempted to say that those who cannot appreciate such a prank shouldn't be going here. However, I know, at some level, that this is a view formed from not having a similar experience myself--I have, so far, been fortunate enough to not be taking a test which drove me to the depths of despair about my grade in the course.
Also, I'm not sure that all of the people who participated in the Fire Drill weren't having trouble in the course... I know I almost participated, and I got a pretty miserable score on the final (admittedly, I also came in to the timed section an hour late, as some may recall).
-- AndrewSchoonmaker (doing the dumb things I gotta do)