Student achieves feat of homework completion

by Melanie Evans

Time stood still for Karen Ahab Monday at 3 p.m. Gently, she pulled the plug from the socket, stopping her alarm clock, commemorating her triumph forever.
It was a moment to remember. For the first time in her six-year career at the University, Ahab completed an assignment before class began. The College of Liberal Arts junior chose to immortalize her achievement by immobilizing the hands of her clock.
“I’ll never plug in the clock again,” Ahab whispered with tears in her eyes. “Man, I am so proud. I called my folks in Wisconsin. My mom cried and everything.”
Friends gathered on the second floor of Ahab’s Dinkytown duplex as news of her victory spread.
The low din of a small party greeted Ahab as she returned from class. Twenty of her classmates and colleagues clustered around the beaming 28-year-old listening to her dramatic account.
“It was a dark and stormy night,” Ahab began. “I couldn’t get my car started, either. I had no choice, I had to stay home.”
And then the electricity failed. With no power, Ahab could not indulge in her favorite pastime — Quake. Nor could she revel in television, movies or music.
Turning to her last resort, the phone, Ahab was stymied again: She was greeted by a dead silence and the sound of her own voice echoing through the hollow plastic receptacle.
“Oh God, I don’t know what I would do,” interjected long-time friend Kevin Jojoba. Also a liberal arts junior, Jojoba and Ahab often play video games well into the morning, he explained, as a way to relieve stress.
Continuing her narrative, Ahab gave a play-by-play of the evening’s events. After fixing a six-course meal, she took a nap and cleaned her apartment top-to-bottom by candlelight. There was little left to do but read.
The evening took on a slightly surreal and eerie feeling after that, Ahab said. By 4 a.m., Ahab fell asleep with six of 12 questions completed.
And then it happened.
“I had this dream,” she said, shaking her head. In it, confetti and trumpet calls and banners drifted through the air over Washington Avenue. A hero’s procession of red carpet and cheering crowds lined the street.
“And it was all for me,” Ahab said. “Then I knew I had to get the homework done.”
Waking in a cold sweat at 11:59 a.m., Ahab began the frantic sprint to finish her work.
“Six problems. Man, I thought I’d never finish.”
Three hours later, she was done, she told the cheering crowd in her apartment.
Friends were touched by the account. Many said Ahab’s recount inspired them to shoot for the stars, too.
“I got goose bumps,” Cala Kuptow said. “That dream was a sign. She was touched by a higher power. There is no way anyone could finish that much work in such a small amount of time.”
Several students who gathered to hear Ahab’s story said they will make pilgrimages to the apartment before their next assignment becomes due.