FINALS ARE OVER! Man, what a great feeling. The weight has been lifted! Much to my surprise, all of my grades turned out much better than I had anticipated. This has been the single most academically challenging semester I have had, so I am glad it is over and not so glad too. There are many things I will miss about Moscow, but at the same time I am glad that the classes are over and I finally have a break. I feel like a human again.
It has been two weeks since my last post, and yet not much has happened. Everyone has just been studying for finals, which were spread out over two weeks rather than the one week like I’m used to. For the most part, the finals resembled finals back home. However, our Basic Algebra final had an interesting Russian twist. The test was taken directly from the 80 problems we were assigned as homework at the beginning of the semester. They were randomly chosen from each section, one from fields, two from groups, and one from rings and algebras. Then you could either write up your solution on the blackboard or a piece of paper and you would have to explain your solution to the professor as he came around checking on everybody’s work. He would then proceed to ask you follow up questions, to see how well you actually understand the material. Apparently, it is traditional in Russia for the grading to be very subjective. This was a mix of Western and Russian grading practices. I liked the in-person presentation of the solution since if you were kind of shakey on something he would ask you a question to prod you in the right direction. Over all, all of my finals went well so I’m quite pleased.
Though my focus was always on learning math so that learning Russian has taken a back seat, I’m surprised at my meager progress in speaking and listening comprehension. There’s certainly new vocabulary that I’ve got down that I didn’t know before coming here.
This coming Tuesday, the 23rd, I will be heading back to Omaha. It’ll be nice being back home, but I know I should expect a bit of adjustment to being in the States. This whole experience has very interesting, I’ve learned a tremendous amount of math and about the Russian people, and even a bit about myself. Alright, bedtime. Gotta get up early to sit and wait for tickets to the Bolshoi.