Day 54

The day of the dreaded Ingredients mid-term finally dawned. (Okay, it actually dawned about the time I got to the campus. On the last day of October, sun-up in these parts is about 8:00 a.m, meaning I am up, showered, dressed, caffeinated, breakfasted and well down the highway before the first rosy fingers of dawn finally bother to show up.)

But back to the dreaded exam (which, like all of my previous mid-term exams, was at 8:30 in the freakin’ morning.) Kevin Somerville’s course is tough. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the first 6 weeks–malting methods, barley physiology, enzymatic processes, adjuncts, hops–all of this in copious and minute detail that we are responsible for memorizing. My mark on Kevin’s first test demonstrated that the brute force method of trying to memorize his PowerPoint slides and my lecture notes was not transferring enough from short-term to long-term memory. So I decided to rewrite every lecture, adding found illustrations from Google Images where applicable. After many hours of working on this (about 3-4 hours per lecture), I was pretty sure I had a grasp of the details, especially after using four hours of commute time this weekend to study my narratives. However, I still entered the classroom wavering between “I’ve got this covered” and “I’m doooomed!”

As it turned out, the exam’s “dread” factor was over-amped. Whether it was by design or some college rule, the entire exam was multiple choice. Just by dint of rereading my notes four times over the weekend, I had a pretty good idea of the correct answer most of the time, so things seemed to go smoothly. Exactly how smoothly will be revealed when my mark is posted.

We then had a guest speaker, Mike Driscoll. Mike is a member of the advisory board for the Brewmaster program, and an organic hop farmer whom I had previously met at his September hop harvest. For 90 minutes, Mike gave us a glimpse of the international hop market and the trials and tribulations of growing hops–and selling hops–in Ontario. As future craft brewers aware of the “Hundred Mile” movement and the swing to all things organic, many of us were very interested, and Mike was still surrounded by a circle of students asking questions well after the end of the class. I would have stayed longer, but it was time to prepare for another test.

Not that I had a lot to worry about. The test in Business Computer Applications  is actually an on-line application, which has its challenges from time to time, but if you’ve done the on-line exercises, there’s pretty well no way to fail the test short of not showing up for it.

In Business Math, it was on to the power of compounding interest. It’s a lock that the modest compound interest I earn from future investments will never come close to equalling the ever-increasing amount of compound interest my brewery will owe–and now I can demonstrate this with my calculator. Perhaps a cold beer will cheer me up.

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