1L Diaries: Final exam lost in cyberspace increases risk of heart failure

Editor's note: KU Law student Natalie Hull wrote this journal entry during the 2009-10 school year as part of the 1L Diaries project. The diaries appear in the Spring 2011 edition of the KU Law Magazine. Read the full version of the 1L Diaries.

June 30, 2009 — I almost had a heart attack today. The essay portion of my Torts final literally almost killed me.

It wasn’t that the exam was too hard. It wasn’t that I was unprepared. It wasn’t even that I suddenly forgot everything the moment that I sat down to take it. Nope. That test tried to kill me through Murphy’s Law (feel free to insert law school irony comment here).

Basically, I was golden after the exam. I felt fine about my essay answers for the most part. A little iffy about the multiple choice portion, but everyone else felt the same so I figured we were all in the same grouping.

I walked out of the Torts final and mentally went into Property study mode since that exam was the next day – and even that exam went as well as I expected.

I let myself enjoy the weekend between sessions worry free. I lazed around a campfire at a random Iowa state park in an effort to “get away from it all.” I came home, caught up on cleaning and laundry. I read fashion magazines. Sunday evening I read the first-day assignments. All was good. I was calm.

Until this morning, when I received a horrible email:

Natalie, Can you stop by my office during the break between your classes today? [IT] has not been able to find your computer exam, so we need to try to determine where it is and what happened. Thanks.

If ever in life there were a call for OMG, this was it. O.M.G.

And I had to sit through 80 minutes of Torts talk (which I usually love!) trying not to hyperventilate and control the pace of my heartbeat. At one point, my neighbor said she thought I was going to burst into tears in the middle of a sine qua non discussion. I’m surprised I didn’t!

I couldn’t stop my brain from its pinball machine of pinging thoughts: Was I to blame? Was it my own negligence (don’t get me started on that irony!)? What happens if it can’t be found in cyberspace? Will they accept the backup that is saved on my desktop? Will I fail? Did I submit it correctly? Maybe I missed something.

When the break came, I ran to student affairs, praying there was a defibrillator handy. IT came in, hit two keys on my computer and declared everything “good to go.”

That’s it.

Seriously. That anticlimactic. I thought about asking for a confirmation number (and now, I think they should upgrade the software to include that!) before I could comfortably leave the room. I am still edgy about it all. What if there is another glitch? Would lightning strike twice? It can when thrown by a law school professor.

So, I am barely breathing until grades are posted. I’m not worried about the actual grades. I’m too busy worrying that I might not get an actual grade!

Natalie Hull, KU Law

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