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Parciales and the Ironic Communications Fiasco

Hello! I have emerged from my parciales (midterms) cocoon. The amount of time spent in cafés studying and writing over the last 3 weeks… well, let’s just say I’ve become acquainted with every café within a 1 mile radius of my house, and patas with the waitress at my favorite café.

I had my IFSA exams first, and they were not bad. The Spanish class exam was 2 essay questions on a story by Peruvian author Julio Ramón Ribeyro. The Peruvian Social Reality exam was 2 short essay questions about the readings for the class. I did well on the Spanish one, and haven’t gotten the other one back yet.

Then I had an exam for Legislation in Communications. That one was scary. Being the only gringa taking a test about the Peruvian government system and legislation, and not knowing what level of detail the professor would ask us for, I was nervous. I still don’t know how I did on it, but I felt like I knew at least a passable amount of the answers. And that’s all I need, to pass, since these classes won’t affect my GPA.

For my Ethnicity class, there was an essay due, so that just left Communications for Development. And that’s where it got interesting.

This midterm was a group project, which he assigned 2 weeks before its due date. We were to create a communications plan to help Peru achieve the Millenium Development Goals, writing 10-15 pages in groups of 5 people.

I formed a group with my Peruvian friend (we’ll call her F) and 2 others. Plus, apparently, one more who I never met and who wasn’t in class that day. We exchanged contact info during class and agreed to read the background material and then contact each other to meet up and do the project.

Thursday, 5 days before it is due:

I have still heard nothing. F messages me on Facebook about meeting on Saturday. I tell her I’d be able to. I look at the contact info I had been given, and it turns out that I only have the email address of one other group member. So I ask F to please contact the others and let me know what is decided.

Friday (T-4 days):

I send F a Facebook message asking if we are still planning on meeting on Saturday. No answer.

Saturday comes and goes. I send F a text message. No answer.

Sunday (T-2 days):

I send an email to the two addresses I have. F responds that she has done the whole project herself. Well, at least someone has done something.

Monday (T-1 day):

The other girl (we’ll call her M) responds. It turns out that M had sent a couple of emails to my PUCP email only (even though I gave her 2 email addresses and a phone number) and I had completely forgotten to check that one. M tells me that the other 2 (whose names to this day I do not know) have split off and done their own project after not hearing anything from us. She wants to meet Tuesday morning with F and me at 8 am, before we have to turn it in between 10 and 12.

After calling F, M tells me that I should help F, and that “Me dijo q hizo d tuberculosis” which means that F was doing the project on the topic of tuberculosis, but somehow (knowing that F was sick) I take to mean that F had tuberculosis. I email F to see what I can help with. No response.

Tuesday morning, 8 am (T-4 hours):

I arrive at the university. I call M to see where she is. No answer. I call F. No answer. I go to the library to wait, figuring that because of la hora peruana they are probably still on the way. I send a Facebook message to both.

8:45 am:

I receive a message that M is on her way.

9:50 am:

M arrives. She asks what I’ve been working on. Nothing, since I had no clue what had been or needed to be done. F is still nowhere to be found. After clearing up the tuberculosis misunderstanding, M and I start frantically researching. And calling F.

11:50 am:

We receive an email from the professor saying that he is still awaiting our project and that if it arrives after 12:00 it will be a zero on the midterm. Although we’ve only managed to put together 1.5 pages because M seemed more concerned about formatting than content, we rush to the building, and M goes to print it while I run and try to explain to the professor what’s happening and beg for more time. Thankfully, the professor is merciful and grants us until the end of the day to complete the project and turn it in to his secretary.

12:30 pm:

We see F. She has just turned in her version of the project, with all of our names on it.

We stare dumbfounded at each other for a while.

Finally F goes to explain the situation again to the professor and he allows us to put our parts together and turn in a final, complete project by the next morning. So we do.


Somehow we managed to turn in a decent project. But ironically enough, this communications project was the biggest communication disaster of my life.

This project, with the same group, will evolve into our final project. Everyone please cross your fingers that I pass this class.


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