Grad School · Who are we?

Placement Exam Report, and all about my Assistantship

Hello everyone, Seth here! I just finished my first day at Houghton college as a graduate student, and I wanted to take a minute to catch you up on my adventures this past week, and *maybe* give you a better picture of what on Earth I’m actually doing with my life up here.

First Day of Graduate School

First, I thought you all may want to know what my graduate assistantship looks like. Basically, Houghton agrees to pay a large portion of my schooling and housing in exchange for 15 hours of work a week from me. I found out last week that I’m assigned to the Theory department and the piano department.

For 7 hours a week, I teach piano to undergraduates. Houghton calls two thirty minute lessons an hour of work, so I have 14 students on my roster (actually slightly under that but I’m supposed to get more soon). Of course, the time spent planning, scheduling, and copying, and scanning for lessons isn’t included. Last weekend I spent 15 hours just preparing! I also have 8 hours of grading for theory and musicianship classes, with the promise of teaching a class next year. I’m very happy with the way my GA load turned out. I think I got placed pretty well for my skill-set, and I’m excited.

Okay, now I’ve got a CRAZY story to tell you, so buckle up.

If you have had any interaction with me this last month, you know that one thing above all has been consuming my every breath: the music history entrance exam. There are three entrance exams required at Houghton college – theory, aural skills, and history. If a grad student fails one, they have to take a remedial course in that subject.

I got the study guide last May, so I’ve had a while with it (by the way, the study guide pretty much says “memorize everything about the history of music”); however, between moving out from OBU, packing all my stuff up, writing music for Paris, GOING to Paris, coming home from Paris, packing up for Houghton, saying goodbye, and unpacking at Houghton, I really didn’t have the time I needed to study.

All that to say every spare moment was me and a History book.

These entrance exams are notoriously difficult. I didn’t realize this until I arrived, but last year, only one of the incoming GA’s passed it. The year before that nobody did. The thing is, it’s not really a big deal if you don’t pass. All you have to do is take a single pass/fail course to refresh what you already know. The problem is that my graduate assistantship doesn’t cover the cost of that course, so failing means a thousand dollar check to Houghton College. OUCH.

The day before the test I did my best to relax. I got my supplies ready. I mentally prepared myself. I prayed. I was as ready as I was going to get. I had the test in my calendar since the day I found out about it. I knew that at 10 O’clock the next morning I would be in my seat ready to go.

The next day started out normally, with Alex and I waking up and eating a nice breakfast together. We went to a local school so she could turn in substitute teaching paperwork. It was no big deal. I got to the room at 9:50 ready to go, and you know what I found?

15 other grad students who had started their test when it started: at 9 AM. I was an hour late.

Turns out, when I put the test in my calendar in Oklahoma and then traveled to New York my beloved Mac thought it should move the events in it back an hour to account for the time change.

Bottom line is, the test was enormous. Had I had the three full hours allotted, I still might not have finished. It was without a doubt the most exhaustive test I’ve ever taken.

I haven’t heard back yet, but yeah, I probably failed it.

Anyway, 5 days later I’ve had time to cope (I did pass the other two tests, by the way). I’m okay with what happened, and completely believe that God has me covered.

Alex and I are so overjoyed by the love that we have been shown lately by our community back in Oklahoma, and by our ‘couple friends’ scattered all over the place. If you have friends who may be interested in our story, please feel free to share our blog with them!!

Next time Alex will tell you about the church we went to on Sunday, an incredible date we had to Letchworth state park on Saturday, and maybe a bit about her job hunt.

We love and miss you all, keep in touch!



One thought on “Placement Exam Report, and all about my Assistantship

  1. I am loving the blogs from the two of you! Getting on facebook was worth it just to share your adventures and photos.
    Welcome to the world of teaching. Unless you’ve lived it – most never appreciate the prep/grading hours that are involved.
    Sending love and prayers your way…

    Liked by 1 person

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