The Daily Grind (Part II)
By Muhammad Shaafay Saqib
Photo Credits: Marium Ejaz
Graphics: Alizah Gul Memon
OHTs are a menace. They’re up there with all the other evil things on this planet, such as midterms, end-of-semester projects, and world hunger. The fateful week always leaves science and engineering students to wonder, ponder, and contemplate what in the world they were doing for the six weeks prior. “I will do better next time”, you hear them mutter under their breath, along with “I’m going to actually pay attention in class this time”. Oh, bother…
It usually doesn’t work out though, and that isn’t much of a surprise. What is surprising, however, is the way the OHT is laid out; the first OHT is always a perfect fit for that descriptor — I mean, it is often fairly apparent that you have no idea what to expect from your new teachers. Is their marking lenient or strict? Are their exam styles “ratta” or conceptual? Will they be nice and give questions that are fairly straightforward, or do they derive joy from imagining their students being mentally tortured? All these important questions are only answered once you are given the paper, which stares with a malevolent smile towards your face.
Sometimes, though, it really isn’t too bad. Sometimes, the paper doesn’t want to crush your hopes and dreams, and you realize that the crooked smile is far more benevolent than you had perceived; a homely, caring grin that need not be misunderstood. You pen in your details, and turn the page to find a relatively doable paper. Whether this may be due to your professor’s aspirations to start a mark-based charity, or your own hard work and dedication, you breathe an internal sigh of relief. Great. Awesome. It goes well. You learn to savor these exams, because, oh God, they do incredulously and atrociously deplete in number as the semesters run past the months and your sorry face.
What is the direct opposite of deplete? I’m not sure, but I do know that it is what happens to the frequency of difficult OHTs. Especially with the, dare I say, second OHT. Imagine that — OHT 1 was so good, they had to make an OHT 2! For some of us, it actually does fare better, either by pure luck or — as they say — hard work and dedication. It’s what happens when you realize that you shall not be a great disappointment, and this brings a fiery motivation to study. For the rest of us, we become disappointments once more, a fiery déjà vu of the OHT that came prior, a melancholic recounting of the last six weeks, again. “There are always ESEs, am I right?”, you hear them mutter under their breath.
It’s all alright, though. In the end, each OHT usually makes up three-twentieths of your grade (15%, for those cool people), and you do great in some (or all) and do awful in some (or all…), but more often than not, you make up for it. It’s just one of the many, many, dastardly figures that make up our life at NUST, alongside quizzes, assignments and ESEs. We pass through it, sometimes repeating, oftentimes not; sometimes acing, oftentimes not; and sometimes sad, but oftentimes not. Eventually, it will end and, as with every year, it is closing to an end for a lot of people. Soon we’ll all have to go into the workforce, straining ourselves under all the pressure, perhaps only to wonder if we could go back take another OHT again…
(Haha, not really. I don’t think anyone wants another OHT. Be real, we’re going to get done with it and buzz off, happily ever after, whilst thanking fate that it finally stops.)