Thursday, October 16, 2008

Performance Enhancing Drugs

Last night I suspected that I was getting sick. Today I woke up shortly before 5am with a horrible, horrible sore throat. The pain from the sore throat woke me up. This left me with a touch over six hours of sleep. Entirely livable, but not leaving me at my best.

Normally this wouldn't bother me too much. I only teach one class on Thursdays and one on Fridays (my week is front-loaded). The Thursday group is pretty laid back. We get off-topic a bunch, and it's OK. I have some administrative things to handle, and I already have notes prepared. My plan was to go over a proof, and I already have it written up for them in easy-to-digest blocks.

But today is also the one and only midterm in my computer science class, which I was already a bit worried about. I know that I'm smart enough to do the "theory" problems without much effort. I knew that I'd have to memorize the stupid details that I can never remember right before class and hold them in my short-to-medium term memory during the test. But I worry about the programming part. I'm super-bad at remembering syntax. I forget the order that things go in (when declaring the variables, it takes me a second to remember whether the type or the name goes first, I forget whether the star goes before or after the name when dereferencing a pointer, etc.). I panic and just don't know where to start.

Now with sick and a lack of sleep, I'm more likely to make stupid mistakes and to be slow. The question is whether I should have my fifth cup of coffee of the year (all the previous four were "half-caf") and speed myself up or whether I should take some xanax and just not care.