Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The stress of a student summer term

wahhhhhh (pic from pinkbluelovescute.com)
Well, “summer” term is a bit of an optimistic name, isn’t it? Particularly when so many of my friends at other unis have actually finished exams, essays, lectures and generally uni for the year already. Here at Bristol we generally don’t finish until later – well, I don’t – and I really like that. Otherwise, the summer is actually too long, and you don’t get any time to enjoy (hopefully) summery weather and do summery things with your mates in your student city. At a lot of unis it seems like everyone rushes off home straight after exams, but that’s not how it tends to go here at Bristol. Yay!

The trouble is, we have to get through a few weeks of hell before we get to that blissful freedom: yes, end of year exams. You think it’s a stressful time when you do your GCSEs, and again at A-Levels, but they really are nothing compared to uni exams.

I love that Bristol students (as a whole) work really hard, take pride in their degrees and take exams and coursework seriously, but I tell you what, everyone sure does get stressed out in the summer term. It’s a little bit nuts.

As a fresher last year (for whom summer exams were far less important), I remember obviously working hard myself, yet being absolutely amazed at the stress levels of students in the years above me. I couldn’t comprehend it. This year, I’m starting to.

All my friends have now become recluses. Everyone lives in the libraries. Facebook is a far less interesting place. People get up at the crack of dawn in order to work – and these are stereotypically lazy students I’m talking about here!

Just the other day when I was chatting to my sister via whatsapp, she sent me some pictures of puppies – as sisters do – and, amidst lots of cooing, we both agreed on how much having a litter of puppies to play with would help during exam time. Dream on, girls, I hear you say. But the thing is, for some students that dream is a reality. A Canadian University actually offered students a puppy room during exam period, where they could go for a few hours a day and just play with puppies. Amazing. I’m so jealous.

One of the hardest things about revising for exams (in my opinion), is getting the balance right between time devoted to each – you have to factor in how long you have before a certain one in relation to how much there is to learn. It’s tricky. Practically maths. Naturally I always make (beautifully colour-co-ordinated) revision timetables, but there’s only so much a timetable can do for you.

And then it’s not just exam revision to deal with, oh no. For one of my units we’ve had to hand in an essay during exam period too. Luckily for moi my exams don’t start till afterwards, but still.

You know how important exams are and how much revision you have to do, but when you have all of it stretching out in front of you it’s even harder to focus and get through it. And why is it that when you don’t have any free time because you have to revise, you can always think of a kajillion other things you’d rather be doing, yet when you have free time you end up doing none of them? (Me? I make lists. Lots of lists. Lists of the fun things I want to do when I can, for example.)

But anyway. Blogging is sort of something which should really be put on said list, because I should really be revising right now. But I’ve just submitted an essay, and I’ve still got a week and – oh zut!  - I’ve only got a week until my first exam! I think that’s my cue to wrap this up.

Happy revising!

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