The Tator

Scream into the void: one man’s journey of realization in exam season

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 13, 2019
The Tator

This article is satirical and is not meant to be taken seriously. It does not reflect the opinions of The Spectator or UW-Eau Claire. 

Exam season takes a lot out of UW-Eau Claire students. It isn’t uncommon to see therapy dogs who are absolutely swarmed by hordes of students trying so hard to keep it together until the next university holiday.

One such student who wasn’t successful in this endeavor is Ted Nivek, a second-year economics student.

On the morning of Oct. 15, Nivek knew that his economics exam would be the deciding factor in his college career. This exam would determine whether or not his dreams of being a mid-level actuary at a small financial firm in Vermont would come true. The stakes were high.

Ted knew something was off immediately upon entering his classroom that day. All of his classmates were sat in their seats, staring blankly ahead as if the professor was lecturing rather than getting the exams ready. Initially, Nivek thought this was strange, but decided to sit down in his usual seat and take the exam.

As the papers were passed out, Nivek was feeling pretty confident. He could handle this. He had this one in the bag.

That is exactly when everything went wrong. Nivek quickly learned that nothing the professor even said in that class, or even slightly related to economics, was on the exam — Nivek found himself in the wrong room.

Now, instead of getting up and leaving — which would have been incredibly awkward — Nivek sat there wallowing. How could he have known that this exam was for early modern Russian history, not economics? It was an honest mistake.

“I should have noticed that no one in the room was in my econ class,” Nivek said later, “but I was too focused on ace-ing the test. How was I supposed to know that the professor changed the location and time of the exam?”

Determined to make the most of this blunder, Nivek doubled down. He would prove to himself, and to this classroom of random strangers, that he was the master of early modern Russian history.

It was all going fine until Nivek hit a point in the exam where his educated guesses were getting more and more ridiculous. There were only so many times he could mention Rasputin in an essay question that, unbeknownst to Nivek, was discussing a time period after Rasputin had died.

Frustrated and freaking out, Nivek knew he absolutely did not have this in the bag. His chances at getting a good grade in a class he’d never even registered for were slim to none. He knew he had to do something drastic to get out of this situation. So he did what any sane person would do.

He screamed.

Now, most people would react in some visceral way to the ear-splitting scream of a man who was wallowing in a sea of his own regrets. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. His faux-classmates continued taking their exam without paying any attention to this man’s despair. Nivek had never felt so ignored in his life.

Nivek continued screaming — aptly impersonating the screech of a cat in heat — as he jolted out of his seat, slapped his exam paper on the professor’s teaching stand and ran out of the room. Some say his wail was heard throughout Centennial Hall that day.

Nivek wasn’t sure if there was a moral to this story.

“It was my only option at that point, I wasn’t going to fail a test for a class I’m not even in!” Nivek said. “Yeah, it was a little dramatic, but hey, at least we know those voice lessons my mom put me in when I was seven paid off.”

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected]