Monday, November 12, 2007

There, But For the Grace of God...

Hello, hello!

Well, my Hell Week is officially over, and though I have a lot of reading to catch up on, and some assignments to do, my main pressures have been alleviated.

But let's take a look at what actually made me label this time period with such demonic flair.

Well, first, the last two weeks or so have all boiled down to Thursday. Thursday was the day in which I had to give a large and very important group presentation in my marketing class. This is a presentation that forced me and three others to meet a lot. And most of you already know my opinion on group projects (for those that don’t: I dislike them). So it was tough. And we made sure to be very thorough, even though I - the guy who always ends up being the de facto leader of every group I’m in - tried not to be in a leadership position for once.

So, keep in mind that I was either meeting up with people or actually working on this project during the course of these two weeks.

Now, last Saturday was the Amazing Bear Hunt. This was, without doubt, the largest and most intensive programs of the semester (and possibly of the year). We were meeting at least twice a week to prep for it, and working on it all other times. The program was essentially a huge photo scavenger hunt (much more intensive than the one I was involved with). It lasted 12 hours, from dawn to dusk, extended through San Francisco, and had over 300 clues for people in teams of 8-to-10 to find.

Because it was our first year ever doing this, we did everything from scratch. Websites, sponsorships, planning, clue-writing…everything. My main role was making the website (which is, as you may have been able to tell, necessarily similar in design to my old IDS 110 final project website), but I had plenty else to do as well. For example, I was one in charge of reading and responding to questions, concerns, complaints, etc. Not because I was necessarily ordained to do so; it was because nobody else ever checked the Gmail account. I also designed the logo (which I can’t show to you for reasons too long and uninteresting to go into, even for me) and the t-shirts.

Now, we’ve been planning this since August. But, as you may expect, we did extra work in the days leading up to Hunt. This meant packing and unpacking stuff, do this, doing that, etc. So, basically, my Friday was forfeit. But I still had to work on not only my project, but two midterms I had that week. So, I didn’t want to be wasting my time sitting around at some base camp in San Francisco. So, I told the team that I would have to stay in Berkeley.

In exchange for my absence, I promised to be the contact person, sending out text message notes and challenges to all the teams (all 25 of them). I also said that I would be that contact point for all the teams.

Wait, what?

Now, let me give you some background. I hate phones. I hate talking on phones. I prefer almost any form of communication (email, IM, face-to-face conversation) to phones. Don’t ask me why. There’s just something about having the obligation to pick up a machine after it produces this sound, only to speak with some disembodied voice. Now, if it’s someone I know and like, that’s fine. But when I have to talk to someone I don’t know, usually about a problem, I’m not so hot on that.

However, I figured that I wouldn’t have that many calls. People know what they’re doing, right?


I kept a little log of all the phone calls I got. And I averaged them for over the course of 10 hours (which is when I got the bulk of them). And I got, on average, a phone call every 5 or so. Over the course of 10 hours! Do you know how insane that is? It was like the third layer of Hell.

And it was a long day regardless. I woke up at 5am, and went to bed at 2am. And I was beat.

But it was over. At least, that part of everything was.

On Monday, I had an Accounting midterm. First, I have found out I really dislike Accounting (there goes my boyhood dreams of becoming a CPA), and two, I wasn’t prepared for the test. Regardless, my strategic studying paid of, and I only really lost points on multiple choice questions, resulting in a final score of 86 (which was not in any way bad).

The next three days were completely preoccupied with my group presentation. This was bad, because I also had a Microeconomics midterm on Thursday, immediately before the presentation. And Tuesday’s pretty much taken, what with my RA responsibilities and all.

Wednesday? Well, Wednesday pretty much just disappeared.

So I was stuck with Wednesday night to finalize and memorize my parts of the presentation, as well as study for the midterm. And, to put it simply, there was no sleep. Here, let me put a terrifying image in your mind. Imagine me (wearing my glasses to reduce strain on my eyes) taking a icy cold shower at 2:30am while downing a can of disgusting-tasting Full Throttle energy drink. (A quick aside about energy drinks: I think the reason they’re so disgusting is so people don’t get hooked on them.)

So, as the hours and minutes melted away, I found myself with less and less time to study for my Microeconomics midterm. And by 6am, I knew I had run out of time, because I had to get dressed (in my new suit!), and be at Haas by 8am in order to rehearse with my group.

So, 8am comes, and I meet with my group. Lo and behold!, my group hadn’t memorized their parts yet, even though the presentation was in a scant 4 hours. We found an empty room with a projector, set up our computer, and went through.

Now, I wasn’t using notes in any of our run-throughs. I don’t use notes. I don’t even have them tucked away somewhere. In all my years of theatre work, I’ve never had to ask for a line, and I wasn’t going to start here. Notes are a crutch, and I’ll be damned if I ever use them.

However, as Lady Irony would have it, I completely blanked out on one of my self-cues near the beginning of my rehearsal. I knew I wouldn’t forget it again, but still, one of my teammates said, “Do you have a set of backup notes?”

“Yes,” I said, “They’re in my backpack.”

“Well, maybe you should have them by the computer. You know, in case you choke.”


I swear, based on her reaction in the next several seconds, I must have given her the most unsettling glare ever. However, she brought it upon herself by insinuating that Andrew Schnorr chokes. As I told her upfront:

“Andrew Schnorr does not choke.”

(Quick aside: This same team member had previously made a comment in our preparations that had gotten the better of me [though I didn’t let it show that time]. When we were in slight disagreement about how to make a certain advertisement, she said to me, “Well, I know something about advertising. I’m in a group called ImagiCal. You ever heard of it.” My response? “…In passing.”)

The rest of the rehearsal went flawlessly…for me, at least. Note, I’m not trying to brag. Anyone who has seen me on stage knows I put my heart and soul into making sure I am flawless in front of my audience. However, my teammates somewhat stumbled through their parts. I was worried, but some of my worries were alleviated after our second run-through.

Thing is, though, the by the time we were done going through twice, it was 10am. I had one hour to study for my Microeconomics test. Now, it wasn’t as gloom-and-doom as you may be thinking. First of all, I’m not a complete dunce in economics; after all, it was my original major. Second, the test was open-note, open book, though that good news is tempered by the fact that the professor gave us over 100 pages of confusing handouts.

The main problem with the midterm, I knew, was going to be the wording of the problem. Our professor was famous for being tricky on the tests. So, what do I study if I know it’s open-note? The old midterms, of course. I figure that they’re the most condensed, relevant materials I could look at. So, the majority of my studying was finding where different problems (with solutions) were on the old midterms, and hopefully get enough info on the way to not need notes at all. However, 10:50 came too soon. I still did not feel prepared (nor should I have).

Now, there’s a prayer I say before all my tests. It’s a prayer I’ve said since high school, and it goes as follows:
Let me write what must be written.
Let me withhold what must be withheld.
And let me perform on this test to the best of my ability.

After that, I’d add on some “filler prayer” to complete it, like “I know this, it shouldn’t be an issue.” Basically, a little affirmation betwixt God and I about how I’m feeling.

Well, my little end-cap to the prayer this time was simple and sweet: “Give a kid a break.”

And then I took the test. And this is what the title of this post is referring to. Because, literally, I must have had some divine intervention, as I felt it went great. I knew things, and the things I didn’t know, I found quickly, as if some invisible hand were guiding me to market equilibrium the answers in my notes. In the end, I feel like I got a solid A, if not a perfect score. You better believe I was looking toward the ceiling and winking a lot.

So I had that working for me going into the presentation. And I felt good. And let me tell you, I nailed my parts of the presentation. The rest of my team didn’t do too badly either. Our main problem, though, was that our conclusion was apparently (and unequivocally) wrong. Eh, no skin off my nose. It was a poorly written case to begin with, and there were other groups that have been more wrong. Still the professor dug into us after class for nearly 10 minutes about all the problems we had, before giving us a 95 (obviously one of the higher scores). Hell, if the grade works, I’m willing to take an hour of verbal abuse.

Almost as a way to celebrate a Hell Day well-finished, I participated in a market research experiment, where I did basically nothing but press one of two buttons seven times, and I made $16. Sweet! Maybe I’ve been wrong all these years; maybe being a guinea pig is the way to go!

Talk to you later!


Anonymous said...

Andrew Schnorr does not choke! He gags and fights and wrenches his mighty being, using his very will power and chutzpah to expel the foreign body from within his trachea and out his great cranial orifice. Andrew Schnorr is not a choker my friends, he is an expulser, and he is the greatest expulser that ever graced the green hue's of the almighty's great terra firma. No he is not a choker, he is nothing close, no feelings bar his path, no nervousness shall be too great, no piece of biscuit too large, nor piece of juicy steak too thick for the great one to expulse it.

Why? Because Andrew Schnorr does not choke.

But I do, so if I tried saying all that out loud, I'd fail worse than a drunk blind man at the dmv.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Schnorr does not choke! He only means to do it so that his rivals feel that he hit a weak spot when all along, his wish to win is only his secondary goal...No, his main goal is to lure the easily fooled into his plan...Muwhahahaha!

Well, Andrew, good luck with everything. I thought I was pretty busy (I guess I've got what I always wanted - to be a mover and shaker in the community.) Regardless, I must have 5 hours of sleep minimum - otherwise, I end up passing out and in wierd places such as hospitals. Oh well. Hopefully, market equalization will work out for you, but hopefully your speculation will not cause your grades to, um...choke?

May the invisible hands of supply and demand be with you! May Lord Keynes smile upon you! May you laugh with the Laffer curve! May Pareto's Efficency benefit you all your colaborators. May Uncle Milton, ah, hell. I never liked Friedman.

-Comrade Chavez