Happy Labor Day folks in the US. It is supposed to be a day of vacation for the entire country. Yet everywhere I see clerks attending store registers. My wife is working. The trains are running. The airlines are flying. And I'm here at school laboring over math I was never taught to try and prepare for a test tomorrow which I am likely going to fail. The test is worth 10% of my total course grade. I need a 94% in this class this semester, or I am very likley out of the PhD program.
If I fail this test the professor is going to recommend I drop his course and take a different class first. I have to take this class (and pass it with a 94%) this year, or I am out of the PhD program. It is only offered in the fall. So I either take it now and pass, or I am thrown out of the program for good.
There is a fallback - if I get a 90-93% I can likely stay in, study for an oral exam and try to pass the oral exam (given by a committee of faculty). I only get one shot at the oral exam. But if I do poorly in the class I will likely not be asked back in January.
Happy Labor Day indeed. :-(