When I was in high school, I was one of the student athletic trainers. We learned how to tape ankles and do basic first aid under the supervision of two actual kinesiologists. One of my assignments was to travel with the junior varsity baseball team. (I also traveled with the junior varsity girls basketball team and got my first kiss that way, but that story is best told later, over a cup of coffee, to a friend… In high school.) Anyway, the baseball team went to a tournament that gathered JV teams from all over the El Paso, Texas, region. They placed last.

Dead last.

Before we got back on the bus and headed home, the coach had a few words for his team. He told them that he’d been on many losing teams in his lifetime, and that he had coached a lot of losing teams as well. Then he emphasized to them that they were not the worst team he had coached, and that they were bound to get better. What stuck to me was this: He said, “We’ll go back to the batting cages and hit the hell out of those balls and be better next time.”

It stuck to me because it was so clear. No matter how bad you do, just go back and practice more and you’ll get better.

That’s kind of the mindset I’m right now. See, Hopkins uses 8-week terms instead of semesters. This means that I had a midterm exam four weeks into school and then a final this week, per class. I had a final exam Wednesday, two yesterday, and one today. And these final exams are not easy. It is, after all, graduate school. So the combined effect of accelerated learning along with difficult concepts like biostatistics and genetic epidemiology is taking a toll on me mentally. I’m tired, though not exhausted. The exhaustion will probably hit me this weekend, but it’s cool since I’m off from work.

About work… I’ve talked it over my wife, and we decided that I should not work at the lab (even if it’s every couple of weekends) once I’m done with my first year. My second year will be all about practicum, a couple of classes here and there, and starting work on my thesis. Practicum alone will probably take me out of the country for a while. It’s a hard choice that I haven’t made solidly, but I’m very heavily leaning toward it. Then again, I might have the flexibility to work when I don’t have anything else going on, e.g. vacation from school.

So, back to the story. I took the exams, and I feel like I’ve been worked over with a Louisville Slugger. But I’m going to get “back to the batting cage” and hit the hell out of biostats, epidemiological methods, and whatever other class I take and come back better for the second term.

And “Fetus Jones”? That’s just an inside joke. Have a great weekend, everyone.

[do action=”credit”]Featured image credit: merfam / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND[/do]

2 thoughts on “Final exams, baseball, and “Fetus Jones”

  1. Wow. How many eight week terms do they have per year? The university a couple of my kids go to have three twelve week quarters, plus a nine week quarter in the summer. Are you going to being another term that ends just before Christmas?

    Oh, and I feel your pain. I have dropped out of grad school twice. The first time was because I was also expected to work overtime, plus we bought a house that needed lots of work and I was the newsletter editor of a local professional group. Dear spouse told me I had to give up something to maintain marital happiness.

    So I truly understand why you need to stop the weekend lab work. Good luck to you.


    1. It’s two terms in the fall and two in the spring, with a term in winter and another one in the summer. I’m only taking courses in the fall and spring and doing projects and practicums in the winter and summer. It’s busy. And I’m having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to it.


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