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大学教授凭运气拿到学位的神奇经历

发布者: david | 发布时间: 2008-5-10 03:31| 查看数: 2002| 评论数: 2|

  Now it can be told: I got my B.A. by sheer luck. I say sheer luck because, if events were ordinary, I would have failed almost every course. Instead, when things looked impossible, some "Chance" idea pulled me out. Here is my story.

  现在可以将这段经历讲给各位听了。实不相瞒,我得学士学位全靠走运。如果一切都按部就班,我也许哪门课都过不了关。不过,就在我觉得山穷水尽之时,偶发奇想却让我绝处逢生。下面我就讲讲我的故事。

  Professor Kolb (the students called him "King Tut") was especially rough that year. Some said that an editor had turned down his manuscript; others said that he was just tired of students. But whatever it was, exactly 63.6 percent of the class failed Egyptian History. And if it were not for sheer luck, I'd have raised the percentage to 65.4.

  科尔布教授(学生们都称他“啧啧王”),那年特别不通融。有人说是因为他的投稿被哪个编辑给毙了,也有人说他就是对学生觉得腻烦了。不管是什么原因吧,反正埃及史课全班63.6%的学生都没有及格。要不是我的运气好,班里的不及格率就该上升到65.4%了。

  I remember most vividly the frightening pace of the lectures. No one could take notes as fast as "King Tut?talked, especially when he became excited. My frantic scribbling and almost indecipherable abbreviating were so slow that I missed more than half. Without complete notes, it was impossible to study. I was lucky to have gotten even the 38 on one exam. As the fellows used to say, the "handwriting on the 'sarcophagus'" was clear for me. I knew that my only chance for survival was to get fuller notes.

  他讲课快得吓人,到现在我还记忆犹新。谁记笔记的速度都赶不上“啧啧王”说话的速度快,特别是他激动起来的时候。我手忙脚乱,奋笔疾书,记的几乎是无法辨认的缩略语,就这样还是跟不上他,有一半以上记不下来。笔记不全,学习就无从谈起。一次考试我竟还得了38分,就像当时同学说的那样,“石棺”上的字我还算是认清楚了。我明白,要想不栽在这门课上,就得把笔记记全些。

  That night after the exam grades came out, I tried to fall asleep--to forget my devastating grade for even awhile--but words like "hieroglyphics" and "rosetta stone" kept kaleidoscoping and rolling through my mind. As I mulled over my missing more than half of each lecture, I suddenly hit upon an idea: Why not leave every other line on my note paper blank? Then during the following period I could recall the lecture and fill in the missing portions. In deference to the ancients, I called this the "Osiris Plan."?

  考试成绩出来的那天晚上,我努力想进入梦乡,哪怕是能将那让我伤心欲绝的分数忘记片刻呢。可是“象形文字”啦,“罗塞塔石碑”啦这类词语像万花筒一样不断在我脑中转来转去。想着自己有半堂课的笔记记不下来,我突然灵机一动,干嘛不在笔记本上隔行留空呢?这样下课以后,我就可以回想老师讲的内容,把落掉的部分补齐。为了表达对古人的敬意,我把这种方法命名为“奥西里斯计划”。

  The next day I tried the "Osiris Plan," and it worked! What luck! At first it was difficult to recall the lecture, but as days passed, it became sort of a game. Often, in the privacy of my room I would, in softer voice, imitate the old professor and try to redeliver the lecture as best as I could without looking at my notes. This mimicry almost got me into trouble, when, on a rare occasion, the professor called on me to answer a question. Stunned by being called, I jumped to my feet and for the first two sentences, before I caught myself, the fellows said I sounded "exactly like Old Tut."

  第二天,我实行了“奥西里斯计划”,居然成功了!太走运了!刚开始的时候,上课的内容很难回忆起来。但是随着日子一天天过去,这种回忆成了一种游戏。我常常呆在房间里,在不受干扰的情况下,轻声模仿老教授讲课,并试着在不看笔记的情况下,尽可能地复述课堂的内容。这样的模仿差点给我惹了麻烦。有一次很偶然地,教授叫我回答问题。我没料到教授会叫我,有些发懵。据我的同学说,我当时跳了起来,在还没有回过神的时候说出的几个句子听起来“像极了老啧啧”。

  One evening while quietly reciting the day's lecture to myself, I made an important discovery. In trying to make my presentation as smooth as possible (about this time I had begun imagining that I was a lecturer), I used the transitional words "Now that we have discussed the major reason for the phenomenal success of Pharaoh Hophra, let us look at the subsidiary reasons." At that moment I stopped still, for at no time did the professor ever cut up the lecture into topics and subtopics; nevertheless, the topics and subtopics were neatly packaged and embedded into the seeming onrush of words, waiting to be perceived by the student. With this secret in mind, I found that I could take better notes during the lecture, and during the periods after class I could very easily supply the missing portions, filling in the blank every-other-line.

  一天晚上,我在默诵白天上课的内容时,发现了一件非常重要的事。为了使我的复述尽可能地流畅,(差不多在那个阶段,我已开始想象自己是个讲课教师),我用了过渡性的语句,比如“我们已经讨论了霍夫拉法老重大胜利的主要原因,现在我们讨论一下次要原因。”这时候,我突然停了下来,因为教授从来没有把课上的内容分成主要的和次要的。然而,这些主要和次要的内容都整齐地排列和隐藏在看似滔滔不绝的语言中,等待学生们去发现。心里带着这个秘密,我发现我的笔记做得更好了,而且课后能够轻而易举地把每隔一行所缺的内容填上。

最新评论

david 发表于 2008-5-10 03:32:08
  I tried to share this find with other students, but they'd always say, "You're foolish to take all those notes. Just sit back and listen." Although this sounded too easy to be good advice, I was struck by the great intelligence of my fellow students who could remember the main ideas of lecture after lecture, just by listening. I knew I couldn't; so to hide my inferior intelligence, I continued taking notes, completing them directly after class, categorizing the ideas, supplying the titles and subtitles, and reciting the lectures.

  我试图让同学们和我一起分享这一发现,可他们总是说,“你真傻,记那些笔记干什么!坐那儿听听就行了。”尽管听起来未免太简单,算不上是个好建议,但我的诸位同学仅靠耳朵听就能把老师一堂又一堂课的主要内容记住,真是聪明绝顶,令我佩服。我知道自己可不行。为了掩饰相形见绌的智力,我继续做笔记,没有记上的课后立刻补全,分类记下内容,加注标题、小标题,并且复述老师讲课的内容。

  Another incident finally convinced me of my intellectual inferiority when I found that the other students just "flipped the pages?of the textbook. But poor me, I had to work on each chapter for hours. It was only luck that I wasn't found out, because the professor never quizzed us on our reading; everything depended on the final exam. I was luckier still when, looking in the library stacks for a book on Egyptian religion, I ran across an entire shelf filled with books on Egypt. I spent the rest of the day until 10:00 P.M. (closing time) perusing this lucky find. I finally picked out three books which were written in a style easy enough for me to understand, and I took these back to my room. By first reading these extra books, I found I could come back to the assigned chapter in the textbook and understand it better. I noticed that the author of our textbook frequently referred by footnote to these library books. So with luck I solved the textbook problem.

  还有一件事,使我最终彻底相信自己头脑愚钝、智力欠佳。我发现其他学生看课本时,都是一翻而过;而可怜的我,每章都得花上好几个小时。不过算我走运,教授并没有发现,因为他从来不检查我们的阅读情况,惟有期终考试决定乾坤。更幸运的是,有一天,我在

图书馆的书架上翻找一本关于埃及宗教的书时,偶然发现有整整一书架的书都是有关埃及的。那天其余的时间我就泡在那儿了,仔细翻阅着这喜从天降的收获,直到晚上 10:00(闭馆时间)才离开。临走时,我还选了三本简单易懂的带回寝室。我发现先读一下这些课外书,回头再去读课本中老师布置阅读的相应章节,我就能更好地理解。我还注意到,从图书馆借来的这些书,恰是课本的著者经常在脚注中提到的。于是我的课本阅读难题又幸运地解决了。

  Well, all of this simply led up to the final examination. There I was with a notebook, about two inches thick, filled with lecture notes. Now, was I to memorize all these notes for the exam? And the textbook? Realizing that I didn't have the brains to memorize everything in my notes, I decided (this time without Osiris's help) to read each lecture bearing one focusing thought in mind: "What is the really important idea here?" As I found the answer, I'd jot this central point on separate sheets which I called "Summary Sheets." When I finished, I had "boiled" down inches of lecture notes to just twelve pages of "main issues." I then did the same with my textbook.

  这一切努力都是为了最后的期末考试。情况就是这样了,我已经有一本两英寸厚的笔记本了,里面全是课堂笔记。那么,我是不是该为了考试而将所有这些笔记全都背下来呢?课本的内容背不背?想想凭自己的脑子,根本不可能将笔记里所有的细节都记住,我决定(这次没有奥西里斯来帮忙)带着这一重点问题去读每一章:“这一讲最重要的观点是什么?”找到答案后,就把这个中心思想写在另外一些纸上,我称之为“内容提要”。最后完成时,几英寸厚的笔记已经浓缩成了只有12页的“主要议题”。随后,我又制作了类似的课本的“精华版”。

  Thus armed, I aligned the "Summary Sheets" so that the main issues for both the lecture and textbook synchronized. I learned these main issues by first reading them over, thinking about them, reflecting on them, then without looking at my notes, by trying to recite them in my own words. I went through my summary sheets in the same way, issue by issue.

  准备就绪,我又将“内容提要”作了调整,使讲座内容和教科书的要点相一致。我是这样记忆这些要点的:先通读一遍,认真思考、仔细琢磨,然后不看笔记,试着用自己的话将这些要点复述一遍。我用同样的方法,把“内容提要”部分一个要点、一个要点地过了一遍。

  I guess that I had played the role of the professor too long, because after having mastered these main issues, I composed ten questions--questions that I'd ask if I were the professor. Still having some time left, I pretended that I was in the examination room, and I spent the next four hours rapidly answering my own ten questions. I then corrected my answers by referring to the lecture and textbook notes, and much to my delight, I had discussed all the facts and ideas accurately. For the first time I felt that I had achieved something. I felt almost adequate. But the warm glow was short-lived. What if the professor didn't ask what I had staked my life on? Well, I thought, "It is too late to change." With the feeling that my luck had really run out, I half-heartedly studied for six more hours. I went to bed at 10:00 for a good night's sleep, having refused to go to the second show of a "relaxing" movie with the rest of the boys.

  我想我是扮教授扮得太投入了。在领会了这些主要问题后,我把自己假想为教授,站在他的角度出了十道题。这些做完后还剩下些时间,我就想象自己是在考场,花了四个小时,迅速答完了自己出的这十道题。然后根据讲座和课本笔记修改我的答卷,我高兴地发现,我准确地论述了所有史实和观点。我觉得应付考试应该没问题了。但没过多久,我的洋洋自得便消失得一干二净。我的生死存亡可都押在这十道题上了,要是教授他不考这些怎么办?当时我心一横,“反正现在再改也来不及了!”我觉得自己肯定要倒霉了,带着这种想法,我又心不在焉地看了六个小时书。十点,我就早早地上了床,没和其他人一起去看第二场“放松”电影,好好地睡了一觉。
david 发表于 2008-5-10 03:32:41
  On the way to the examination room the next morning. I knew without quesition that my luck had run out when I met Jack, who sat next to me. He had not taken a single note all semester; he had not even gone through the motions of "flipping" the textbook pages. When I asked why he wasn't nervous, he answered, "This is the semester for Examination Set #4, the one dealing with dates, names of pharaohs, dynasties, battles, and so forth."

  第二天早晨,我在去考场的路上碰见了杰克,更加确信自己肯定要倒霉了。杰克坐在我旁边,整整一学期就没见他记过笔记,甚至连一目十行地“翻”书都没见他翻过。我问他怎么不紧张,他告诉我说:“这学期应该是考第四套题,会考历史时间、法老的名字、历届朝代、发生的战事等等。”

  "What's Examination Set #4?"

  “第四套试卷是什么?”

  Everybody on campus except me, I guess, knew that old "King Tut" had five sets of examinations (ten questions in every set), which he rotated over a five-year period.

  我估计,除了我,学校里没有人不知道老“啧啧王”备有五套试题(每套十个问题),五年期间轮换使用。

  Though "King Tut" collected the mimeographed questions from each student, he did not reckon with the organizing ability of fraternity students. The plan worked like this: Specific students were given the mission to memorize question #1, another group to memorize #2, and so forth. When the students left the examination room, they jotted down these questions quickly from memory and put them into the fraternity hopper. In this clever way all five sets of the examination found their way into the files of numerous students.

  尽管考完后他将每份试卷都收了回去,但绝没料到学生联谊会的组织能力如此出色。他们是这么干的:专门指定一组学生来记第一套试卷的内容,另外一组记第二套试卷,依次类推。学生离开考场后,凭记忆迅速将这些问题写下来,然后存入联谊会的议案箱。这招挺绝,很多学生就这样得到了这五套试题。

  I knew then that even Osiris and Ra, put together, couldn't help me. I had studied relationships.

  那时我才明白,即使奥西里斯和太阳神都来帮我也无济于事。我学过关系学。

  The room was hot, yet others complained of the cold. My mind reeled. I knew my luck had run out. Dimly, as the examination sheets were passed up each row, I heard successive moans of various kinds: "Oh, No!" "No!" and occasional uncontrolled, almost hysterical laughter. I thought that perhaps the professor had by mistake given out Exam #5 instead of the anticipated #4.

  考场里很热,其他学生却抱怨说冷。我头晕目眩,知道自己该倒霉了。试卷一排一排地往下发,我听见不断有人发出各种各样的怪叫:“天呀!”“坏啦!”,偶尔还有人发出控制不住的近乎歇斯底里的笑声。我想可能是教授误发了第五套试卷,而不是大家预料中的第四套试卷。

  By the time the sheets reached me (I always sat in the rear corner of the room where it was quieter) I, too, involuntarily gasped, "Oh! It can't be." I colsed my eyes and waited for my vision to clear so that I could read the ten questions. They were the same ten questions that I had made up only yesterday--not in the same order, but nevertheless, the same ten questions. How could that be? One chance in a million, I'm sure. How lucky can one get? I recovered my composure and wrote and wrote and wrote.

  试卷传到我手中的时候(通常我坐在后排比较安静的角落),我同样情不自禁地倒抽一口气,“啊!这不可能!”我闭上眼睛,直到视线逐渐清晰,能够阅读那十道问题。那就是我昨天刚刚整理出的十道题——顺序不一样但完全相同的十道题!怎么会有这等巧事儿?我相信那是百万分之一的机率。还有更走运的人吗?我恢复了镇静,洋洋洒洒、没完没了地写了起来。

  "Old Tut" gave me a 100 plus. He penned a note saying, "Thank goodness for one good scholar in all my years of teaching." But he didn't know the long line of luck that I had, and I never told him.

  最后,“老啧”给我打了100+,还写了这样一句话,“任教多年,总算碰上一个高材生,谢天谢地!”而我接二连三撞上好运他并不知晓,我也就一直守口如瓶了。

  Now that twenty years have passed, I think that it is safe to reveal that here is one fellow who got his B.A. just by sheer luck.

  二十年过去了,我想可以放心地公之于众了:这里有位仁兄能拿下学士学位,完完全全靠的是运气。

本文选自《北外网院》的博客,点击查看博客原文
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