Finally, the semester is over for me. I sympathise with those students still battling through their final exams, and I'm glad that I only had two, and that they were scheduled early. Thankfully, and surprisingly, my first exam went quite well. It was History of Germany, Bismarck to Hilter (a topic to be waded through, if ever there was one...), and, happily, I think I might have done rather well. My second exam I was more stressed about. It was a mulitiple choice, and it was at 8am last Wednesday. I was studying for it all night and I reached the Homer Simpson-esque stage where nothing was remaining in my head and each piece of new information pushed the old out. So I decided to go to bed at about 10.00pm in the hopes that I'd wake fresh the next day. Sadly, that was not to be the case, as a social problem (for lack of better descriptive words?) kept me up until 1.30am. I was stressed, upset and exhausted, and so naturally couldn't fall asleep easily. So I think I had about an hour of sleep before my second exam, and I was sick, stressed and tired. But I think I did okay in the end. I'm just not one of those people who can study into the small hours; I find I have more ability and strength in an exam if I just get enough sleep the night before, lazy as that may in fact sound.
After my exam, though, I caught up with a few friends, and felt much better. It's funny how one sentence uttered in a malevolent context can entirely shake up your beliefs about yourself. It took the assurance of several to bring me back to the state I'd been in before the exam (which wasn't even a very stable one, anyway).
The other thing this all had me considering was the way in which non-students sometimes seem to have difficulty understanding exactly what exam time means. It's difficult to tell someone who doesn't study exactly what they're interrupting without sounding as though you're talking down to them with your academia, and your university and your general attitude of I-know-better-than-you, but the reality is this; your success or failure at a subject, something you've been working away at for the past six months, is quite often all dependant on the two hours you spend seated in a large hall, silent except for the fervenet scratching of pens on paper, ekeing out any and every piece of information relevant to what's written on the page in front of you. It seems silly to talk about the pressure, but it seems to me that it's something that's difficult to understand unless you've been there. ANY exam is difficult. Grade ten, or university level, or driver's test, or assessment times at work.
I really just wish that people would just think for a moment about what you might be trying to accomplish or achieve, whether it's the memorisation of the plot, characters and literary devices of a novel or simply eight hours sleep, before an exam before they go right on ahead and divert your attention to something much less important.
But at last, relief is here for me! I'm finished. Thank goodness. To wake up on a day when I'm not working and wait for the onslaught of things to do today to come - and then find that it doesn't - is the greatest relief! Hope everyone else enjoys their holidays as much as I am thus far!