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Hold the Onions

by Sara Kenney 4 years ago in high school
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Students sat slack-jawed, absorbing the absurdity of the professor's expectations. Pencils hit the papers with force, but erasers hit harder with attempts to hide the bullshit lines that were scribbled. All were desperate attempts to please the professor and to feel adequate.

“One hour remaining,” the professor’s voice boomed.

The final was one student’s last hope to pass. She needed to get most of the test right, just to barely make it through the class. She looked up from the exam and around the room. When noticing other students were on the last page, she started to panic. She was only halfway done.

The professor stood in front of her desk and cleared his throat. “Miss Tanner, eyes on your own paper.”

Tammy gave him an awkward smile and went back to her test. The words started to move around the paper. Letters started to disappear from sentences. Tammy tried to write down an answer, but she second guessed herself and erased it. Always trust your first instinct, she erased her second answer and wrote the first one down again. I think this is wrong. She changed her answer again.

One brave student handed his exam in first. Tammy sighed and watched the clock tick away slowly. Another student got up and handed in her exam with three more to follow. Her hands started to sweat, making her pencil fall on the floor. Frantically searching in her seat for the pencil, Tammy could not find it. Her breathing raced as well as her heart. I can’t find my pencil and no pencil means I can’t finish. If I can’t finish, then I’ll fail and my life will be over. Another student went to hand in his exam and found Tammy’s pencil.

“Thank you,” the professor shot her a disapproving look when she spoke. She slightly raised her hand as an apology.

“Half an hour left,” he glared at the few students left.

Choose the appropriate word to make a meaningful sentence. What does this word even mean? Is that even a word? When in doubt pick ‘C.’ Always pick ‘C.’ Tammy circled, re-circled, crossed out, rewrote, and left things blank. Panic struck when she noticed too many of the same letters circled in a row. She went back and changed her answers. After skipping a few questions and writing prompts, Tammy finally got to the last page. It was the last question on the exam. Tammy stretched in her seat, then cracked her knuckles. This is the last question that is worth thirty points. Write an essay explaining and comparing the themes in the two novels. I never read them. How can I be so stupid!

“Five minutes left. Finish up your thought.”

Tammy groaned and made something up and wrote down the first thought that came to her. In mid-sentence, the professor called time. She look around the classroom and noticed she was the only one left. She got up slowly and handed in her exam.

“Miss Tanner, I know this final is important. Hang around and I will grade it for you.” The professor exited the room and Tammy slumped back into her seat. She tried to fight back the tears as she watched the door, waiting for the professor.

Ten minutes later, he walked back into the classroom. He placed the exam faced down in front of her. Without a word, he left. Tammy took a deep breath. She flipped over her exam and noticed a job application attached to the front of it. After seeing the front of her actual exam, the application made sense.

Miss Tanner, I don’t like onions on my burger.

high school

About the author

Sara Kenney

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