Examination week—–torture of the “wooden” and seventh heaven of the “savvy!”
For the wooden man, he who knows little, this week of final examinations is a period of unalloyed torture. He must go before an array of professors who are there to expose his ignorance.
No “wooden” man can expect to get by. The gates of hope are closed before his face. He marches to the ordeal, full of a dull misery. Whether he is fourth classman or first, he knows that hope has fled; that he will go below the saving 2.5 mark and be dropped from the rolls.
But your “savvy” midshipman—–he who knows much, and who is sure and confident with his knowledge, finds this week of final examinations a period of bliss and pride. He is going to “pass”; he knows that, and nothing else matters.
Eight o’clock every morning, during this week, finds the midshipman in one recitation room or another, undergoing his final. As it is not the purpose of the examiners to wear any man out, the afternoon is given over to pleasures. There are no afternoon examinations, and no work of any sort that can be avoided. Indeed, the “savvy” man has a week of most delightful afternoons, with teas, lawn parties, strolls both within and without the walls of the Academy grounds, and many boating parties. It is in examination week that the young ladies flock to Annapolis in greater numbers than ever.
Sometimes the “wooden” midshipman, knowing there is no further hope for him, rushes madly into the pleasures of this week, determined to carry back into civil life with him the memories of as many Annapolis pleasures as possible.
A strong smattering there is of midshipmen who, by no means “savvy,” are yet not so “wooden” but that they hope, by hard study at the last to pull through on a saving margin in marks.
These desperate ones do not take part in the afternoon pleasures, for these midshipmen, with furrowed brows, straining eyes, feverish skin and dogged determination, spend their afternoons and evenings in one final assault on their text-books in the hope of pulling through.
Dave Darrin was not one of the honor men of his class, but he was “savvy” just the same. Dan Dalzell was a few notches lower in the class standing, but Dan was as sure of graduation as was his chum.
“One thing goes for me, this week,” announced Dan, just before the chums hustled out to dinner formation on Monday.
“What’s that?” Dave wanted to know. “No girls; no tender promenades!” grumbled Midshipman Dalzell.
“Poor old chap,” muttered Dave sympathetically.
“Oh, that’s all right for you,” grunted Dan. “You have one of the ‘only’ girls, and so you’re safe.”
“There are more ‘only’ girls than you’ve any idea of, Dan Dalzell,” Dave retorted with spirit. “The average American girl is a mighty fine, sweet, wholesome proposition.”
“I’ll grant that,” nodded Dan, with a knowing air. “But I’ve made an important discovery concerning the really fine girls.”