Taking college finals for the first time can prove challenging but when one first year Texas undergrad tweeted about nearly missing a recent exam, top university brass applauded the student for showing up at all, even though she admitted to cutting class for at least a month prior.
Ann Mark, a University of Texas at Austin freshman, chronicled the perils she faced en route to a December final exam. In a roughly two minute video, the adorably exasperated coed tweeted how she went to wrong buildings several times and even mistook a closed window for a doorway, crashing into it. She also expressed her embarrassment that others watched. Ultimately, through the kindness of fellow Longhorns she encountered that morning and Google Maps, she found her way to the right classroom with one minute to spare before the 9 a.m. essay exam began.
In the video, Mark railed over blue books, the bound booklets that college students have used for writing essays since they were introduced in the late 1920s. Mark had no idea she needed one for Introduction to World Cinema History, a sweeping survey course that satisfied visual and performing arts (VAPA) requirements for students not majoring in radio, television, and film (RTF) but were interested in the subject.
She recounted her mad dash to the campus co-op to buy two blue books that morning. “A blue book is, apparently, what you need to write a friggin’ essay.” She repined, “You have to buy special paper so that your professor could read it because, apparently, they are illiterate whenever you write on notebook paper.”
Then, in passing, she divulged, “Okay, I haven’t been to class in like a month.”
This video received more than 9.2 million views since she tweeted it on December 15.
My first!!!!! College!!!! Exam!!!! Was magical D is for Degree amiright pic.twitter.com/3WOBiJT3AF
— Ann Mark (@annmarkk) December 15, 2017
While she is far from the only student to ever ditch a class, Mark is unusually vocal about her proclivity to do so. Days later, slacker Ann told Fox 7 Austin: “I hadn’t been to class in forever so I spent the previous night absolutely cramming, taking notes on the textbook, showed up and thought that I was going to kill it. I was ready.”
Interestingly, Associate Professor Caroline Frick, who taught the Fall 2017 RTF staple, advised in boldface type on a six-page syllabus that students who anticipated having “a lot of absences” should drop the class. Likewise, undergraduate UT-Austin policy calls for “regular and punctual” class attendance.
Most cyberchat on Mark’s Twitter feed reflected favorable comments about the impish student’s amusing yet frantically told tale. Some found the story funny, others related, and a few crowned her the next great virtual darling. A handful concocted reasons she skipped the class and more defended or excused her bad behavior as inexperience and youth, even arguing with those online who criticized Mark.
Surprisingly, the connection between Mark’s delinquent actions and her plight eluded university officials in their online remarks. The RTF department tweeted: “Great story by a freshman @UTRTF student on her misadventures getting to her first final exam @UTAustin.”
Jay Bernhardt, the UT dean of the Moody College of Communications posted: “Loved the creativity of your video and hope you did well on the exam.” He chalked up her finals room madness to a “learning experience” and told her to have a great winter break.
UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves actually told the class cutter: “College can be challenging, but Ann, you’re clearly cut out for UT!”
College can be challenging, but Ann, you’re clearly cut out for UT! Send me a direct message, and we’ll make sure you have enough Blue Books for the next four years. As for security video, I’m not sure what we can find… https://t.co/ozJOsJ0Ud7
— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) December 17, 2017
Fenves offered to supply her with four years worth of blue books. One UT student questioned: “How come she gets free blue books for not being prepared for her final exam but the rest of us don’t?”
Another student noted: “If she hadn’t skipped FOUR WEEKS of class (or taken 30 sec to look it up) she would’ve known,” He added that final exam locations and times are posted early in the semester and are accessible through student online ID accounts.
Mark ended that video by saying: “So I sit down and write an amazing essay on how Napoleon Dynamite is a great example of an independent film in America. And then, I apologize.”
World Cinema History’s syllabus accounted for screening a blend of American and foreign films across the decades such as Cinema Paradiso, Nosferatu, Casablanca, Dial M for Murder, and Jaws, but it never mentioned indy flicks like Napoleon Dynamite, the 2004 cult comedy.
Later, Mark tweeted Napoleon Dynamite filmmaker Jon Heder to “thank him for an incredibly relevant film that saved me from (completely) bombing my world cinema history essay.”
On December 20, she announced she got a C+ on that exam.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.