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The battlefield was merciless. Landmines of hidden cases to consider, bombshells of difficult partial derivatives, and an impenetrable “true false uncertain” section. And that machine gunner smiling at the front of the room, counting down the moment until your death (you know he loves his job).

Despite all the obstacles, death was avoided (though a soul was lost). This was the point of realization, that this wasn’t a class, this was war. Listening to instructions didn’t guarantee survival, and the only way to survive was having the right mix of skill, concentration and luck.

After the battle, there was mourning, followed by desire for redemption, followed by drowning sorrows in alcohol. True econ majors had doubts, fake econ majors limped through, non-econ majors deserted or cried to be sent home. The one redeeming factor for the fake econ majors was their hope that on their transcript, they could see that beautiful words “turbo economics.” (Unfortunately, the fake econ majors would later find out that the transcript records both turbo and non-turbo economics as “elements of economic analysis–1.”)

Water washed away the depression, but a lingering sense of fear didn’t fade. Mixed into this fear was a glimmer of hope that Lima sprinkled onto the class after the exam. Morale rises (though the recent meat grinder event was still ingrained in our memories), but we knew that the bad cop was already preparing a new line of artillery to engage us in the next encounter. I could see him faintly smiling has Lima tried to boost our morale. He definitely was smiling.

He knew, that the highlight of the class had yet to come.

Yes, Victor Lima’s final.