Perhaps the most underwhelming exam period ever?
May is always a stressful time for students, and this year, what with all the chaos in the world has only added to that. With another year of online exams facing students, I imagine we are all feeling a bit of Zoom fatigue and just counting down the days until summer. I certainly am. With 5 exams and a 4,000 word essay down, and just 3 more to go, I am so unbelievably ready for some time off. I suppose that’s the real sad part of ending university with exams, as you just get so bored and run down with the endless days of revision that you just wish the weeks away. Alas, only two weeks to go!
It’s certainly been a different exam period, even compared to last year. I suppose this is mainly because unlike last summer, where the last-minute move to online teaching and exams in April forced the languages department to cancel our oral exams, we actually had to do them. Shock. So in the space of eight days I had three oral exams over Teams, which despite my fears went largely without buffering or lost connection, as well as some of the normal language exams like essay writing and translation. The only difference this time around was that unlike last year, where we got three weeks to produce our final essays and translations, this time we’ve only got two hours. However, the languages department have been somewhat nice and at least given us 24 hours to start the exam, meaning that if you’re a morning person like me, you can start at 9:00am, or perhaps later in the day. This has been helpful in planning my time, and ensuring I’m in the least hideous frame of mind when I start the exams.
I suppose the most surprising aspect has just been the weirdness of doing the exams online. Perhaps it’s because this year I’m in my student house and not at home with my parents, or maybe it’s because it’s finals, but hitting submit on my online exams this year just feels so underwhelming and sad. It’s like, you get all the build up and adrenaline, complete the two hour exam, press submit, and BAM, all done, with none of the usual satisfaction or pride that you’ve finished the exam/ module/ university. It’s almost like I go straight into panicking about my final mark as soon as I finish. And perhaps it’s because the exams don’t feel quite as real as they normally do, as most are open book and so are a different test of our skills. But I just can’t shake the feeling that this is not what finishing your finals should be like.
In times like these it’s important to just remember that soon it will all be over, and then the joyful celebrations of summer will soon cloud the pessimism, numbing the fear of results day for a little while longer. Having finished over half of my exams, including all the ones I was fearing the most, I’ve started to embrace a more relaxed approach to exams. And it is this time of the year, when the difficult exams are done and I start to ease into my summer of doing nothing, when I appreciate that I chose languages, a marathon subject, and not one that requires a sprint finish of all-nighter revision sessions and countless exams.
So shout out to all the students suffering through underwhelming exam periods. May it be over swiftly X