My experience revising remotely
Having been on my year abroad last year, I didn’t really have the same experience of revising at home. Of course, I did have exams for my exchange university in Paris. However, these didn’t count towards my final grade.
This year, being my final year, things are slightly different and I have been working hard these past few months to give myself the best chance in the exams. And, although the exams are technically open book, it would be foolish to not use this time effectively to revise as thoroughly as I would have done in normal circumstances, especially as I have no prior experience to how these exams will run. My biggest fear is to sit an exam I have not properly prepared for.
However, this fear has recently consumed me, finding it hard to stop working for the day and taking time off for breaks. Living at home and therefore without having other students around me to compare schedules with, I am finding it increasingly difficult to know if I am working productively enough or not, if I am well prepared or falling behind. Consequently, I end up working longer hours each day, extending my revision sessions into the night and having my sleeping schedule slip between my fingertips. I have lost control.
These exams should be easier than normal, with access to resources and all of my revision notes. I keep telling myself this. Yet, I refuse to let myself get comfortable with the idea that these exams will go well for me. The fear of failure is the only thing that spurs me on.
I hate that this is what academia has pushed me to become. And, yet I fear that too many of us are like this.
I write this article to encourage other students alike to not let exam grades define you; that our mental health and enjoyment always comes before academic pressures. These online exams should be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate our understanding but to not limit our self-worth and intelligence to the numbers we receive on results day. I truly hope that, if you are anything like me when it comes to exam period, that you use this article as a message to take a break from revision and to not get too worked up over a grade.
As motivation, I would like to recommend some things I have recently started implementing into my schedule in order to take back control of my life:
- I find that when I am really busy and stressed with work, I tend to not prioritise my health – whether it be refusing to exercise or only eating quick, convenient comfort food. Therefore, I have decided to push myself to take a piece of exercise (preferably outdoors when it isn’t raining) four times a week and giving myself more time to cook healthy homemade meals. These two things are such simple life changes and such a necessity for my well-being, and yet, they are always the first thing to go when I get overwhelmed with my deadlines. If you have a friend or a family member that is only a similar health journey, documenting your meals and exercise routines to each other is a good way to stay motivated and accountable.
- I try to keep an hour free during the day to spend doing something fun – even if it is just watching a series on Netflix or calling a friend. I find that by sectioning out a part of the day makes me feel less guilty for taking time off work and allows me to view the break as a reward rather than procrastination.
- Finally, I recommend forgiving yourself when you have off-days (which are bound to happen). It is difficult to stay motivated, especially when you are living separate to other students. Naturally, there will be days where you wake up later than planned, where you spend longer procrastinating than you hoped for, and where you don’t finish everything on your to-do list. This is okay. Each day you learn something new and only by forgiving yourself for making these mistakes can you improve for the next day.