29 November 2006

Test(y) Me

She sat in a corner of Border's, her laptop mute and barely touched. Her expression was that of need and every time her phone buzzed, she jumped on it, only to hang up with soft disappointment.

I waited out her lonely half an hour then said to her: "That's what you get for misbehaving."

"Oh no," she said immediately, "I'm trying to do a test."

I had to ask.

Turns out it was a 50-question (40 multiple-choice, 10 True/False) History of Puerto Rico test, college-level. As I perused it, I noticed only 5 questions had been answered, the rest had checkmarks and blank spaces. "It's due tomorrow," she said. "We've had it for two weeks and nobody's been able to answer it."

Two weeks. History of Puerto Rico. A university student. Like I had a choice.

I asked her to copy the test to my USB drive. Without prompting, she included her e-mail and name.

Bottom line: I started at midnight and sent her a completed test around 2:58 a.m. I used Google and a 7th grade History of Puerto Rico text published in 1959. I expect to score at least 46 and maybe up to 49, depending on the teacher's bias in a couple of subjective questions concerning the Puerto Rico of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Was--am--I showing off? Damn straight. How could I not? Here's a supposedly well-prepared (came from private schools) college student who when a friend of Mine told her she could get plenty of information on Puerto Rican history at the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation, she gave a weak smile and asked "Do they have a website?" I told her the library had plenty of books and no website.

Two weeks. And a two-day extension. Some thirty students in the course. And this young lady sat in a crowded bookstore cafeteria--a bookstore WITH books on Puerto Rican history--waiting for the answers to drop into her laptop.

They did.

Tying off some loose ends: Her name is Nathalie, she's a student at a San Juan university campus and the course title is History 212.

Let's hear it for higher education in Puerto Rico!!

The Jenius Has Spoken.


Anonymous said...

Jiminy Cricket! That's awful. She just sat their waiting for the answers to fall on her lap.

I'm going to try damn hard for that not to be my kid.

Anonymous said...

The word "their" should be "there."

Don't even try it :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog for months. I found a link to it on the T.I.P.S. blog long ago. As I was reading this particular entry, I thought that maybe you could help me on this paper (and presentation) I have to do for Friday. It's about how criminality affects tourism in Puerto Rico. I thought it would be easy and that I would find lots of info on that subject. So far I've had no luck. I mean, I've found stuff about crime and tourism in other places but not PR. I am getting really anxious! Do you have any info on that? I would be so forever grateful! My e-mail address is zumivara@gmail.com.

GCSchmidt said...

First of all, thank yor for reading The Jenius.

Second, please Google crime's impact on tourism in Puerto Rico (no quotation marks) and you will find 3 fairly good articles: "Unofficial travel advisory" from WetPixel; The Puerto Rico Herald's "Guns and Drigs" and "With the highest murder rate...".

Please let Me know if these are useful or if you need more sources. Unfortunately, the local papers have weak archiving, so most possible stories you could use are offline.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for answering. I read your reply a little late though. At the last minute I decided to switch the theme for "sustainable tourism" and decided to focus on security issues. It turned out ok, I guess. I would have loved to talk about my original idea but I couldn't find much about that. Thanks anyway, and I am surely going to keep reading your blog. Actually, I'm even thinking about joining Blogger.

GCSchmidt said...

I'm glad you were able to make a change and get out a reasonably good report. Maybe next time I can help more than I did this time.

As for blogging, go ahead! It isn't easy, but then again, it isn't all that hard, either. Find a comfort zone for yourself in written words and then explore outside out of it. And remember to have fun!

The Jenius