I'm really not a fan of ambiguity.
Last week, I got a mid-term exam back. I wasn't really sure what to expect, as it was a different exam format than usual. And the prof, while not at all bad lecturer, continually tosses out comments such as, "This is the kind of question that might be on the exam. So ... you know, if you don't know this ..." and then he shakes his head and raises his hands in a gesture of futility.
I know that sounds helpful. But it leaves me wondering why he seems to have already readied his "I told you so" remarks. I can only assume they are based on the performance of past students. Which means that I may THINK I am ready for the exam, when in reality I am NOT.
So we got the exams back. It was a lower mark than I normally get. And yet ... the class average was lower than usual. And I was still on the acceptably high end of it. I stuck around to hear his detailed remarks about each question because it seemed like the smart thing to do. So he read each question, and then said, "Now what we were LOOKING for was ..." frankly, a lot more detail than the question implied. Of course, the required head-shaking and hand-raising were part of the explanation.
I listened, jotted down a few notes, but was surprised to discover no sign of inner outrage. After all, he's been doing his job for a long time. His exams are obviously considered acceptable. And me? I decided a long time ago that if someone wasn't going to tell me what they REALLY wanted, I wasn't going to be too hard on myself for not reading their minds.
On the final exam, I'll write more. Now I know.
I walked out of the exam to discover a parking ticket on my car. Got out of the car and stared at the three conflicting parking signs above my car, all on one pole. Stood there, an intelligent, job-holding, university-attending adult, for several minutes, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. Finally deciphered the various dates and times when parking was permitted, saw where I had gone wrong, shrugged my shoulders and got into the car. Again - if the City of Hamilton isn't going to communicate clearly - well, there it is.
I have a life. I don't want to spend it fighting profs or the City, unless it's really important. Which I think shows tremendous growth on my part.
But I'm still not a fan of ambiguity.