Tag Archives: Baccalaureate

Baccalaureate Audacity


Um, so we have a story for — about a student who took the French baccalaureate, and um … when it comes to the philosophy exam, it’s always like … it’ll be some like weird question sometimes. And apparently one year, the question was “what is audacity?” And, we have four hours to complete this test. So, some kids are writing like eight pages long, and some kids were writing like basically nothing. And other people, like there are other things you can choose to do if you’re taking the philosophy exam, it doesn’t have to be like one question, so people were doing other things. But, you can’t leave the exam until about an hour or two into it. So, this kid wrote one thing on his paper. It was literally a line long. And then… uh, kind of looks at his desk. And everyone’s kind of looking around wondering what’s happening. And uh, ‘cause we can’t mind our own business. But, um… So what happens is, once the hour — the first hour– is up, he goes and he turns that in and leaves. And, when everyone gets their results, you know we have a tendency of telling each other our results. So, what happens is, he gets his results, and his friends — obviously everyone’s asking what they got. They ask him and he said he got a perfect score, so 20 out of 20 in our case. And they said “what? We saw you. You only put one sentence. What did you say? And to the answer… to the question “what is audacity?” his answer is “this is audacity.” And just turned that in.


This piece of folklore came up when a couple of college freshmen were sitting around a dorm room discussing senior year exams and the college application process. When the informant began to tell this story, I rushed and got my camera to record it. The informant said that the initial context she heard it, and would typically hear it, was when her and her high school classmates were discussing baccalaureate exams, usually right before they happened.


According to the informant, this legend was told during times of high stress in the baccalaureate process. Since those exams are so important and determine the student’s ability to get into the college they want, there is a lot of anxiety surrounding them. I think that this piece of folklore is spread to relieve some of the stress of the upcoming exams. It implies that you don’t have to do the longest and most elaborate work to be successful. Also, the fact that the main question in the legend is “what is audacity?” might imply that the more important thing when dealing with anxiety over the future is to just be audacious and bold.