Oh it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

With students curled up crying

And everyone telling you to study hard

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Hello again, exams! It feels like yesterday that I was talking to you! What are you doing here? Wait, what? It’s nearly the end of the year? I need to relearn everything from the past 12 weeks in the timespan of one week and hope that I’ve done well enough for my GPA to remain stable? Isn’t that just dandy!


As you may be able to tell, I’m in a great mood. Well, if a great mood consisted of stress, exhaustion and headaches. You may as well just glue a coffee cup to one hand and a bowl of porridge/noodles to the other because that’s what I have been living off this exam period.

It’s hard to believe, but I am already halfway done with my exams. I sat Anthro and Psych last Friday. Yep, that’s right – on the same day. Why must the exam timetable organisers be so cruel?

A short summary of how they went: Anthro made me regret thinking that 100 multi-choice questions was going to be easy, and Psych went better than I thought it would but it’s still no A+. And I know I can blame no one other than myself when the results come out in a few weeks time.

The squad at formal dinner

The squad at formal dinner

You would think that, having gone through the school system and my first year of university, I would realise that if I want to feel prepared and do really well in exams (I’m talking A’s and A+’s here, people), I should stop leaving study to the last week of classes. It really doesn’t leave much time for in-depth, hard-core studying.

This exam period appears to be smoother than first semester’s. Most of the time, I am on top of things; I’m up at 7 and have my head down, studying from about 9 until 5. But there are times where the whole day slips through my fingers and I’ve only completed one or two lectures worth of notes.

Those are the days that really throw me off. I start to think that I’ve got a handle on things, that I am finally going to go into my exams feeling uber prepared for once in my life. But then one of those “lazy days” comes around and knocks me down. And the annoying thing is, I know that those days don’t have to happen. There are tactics and techniques that keep you organised and on track. I use some of these too; I have a daily planner, a calendar with all the exam dates, reminders, etc.

"I feel like I should have a nametag that says 'tired and unmotivated'"

“I feel like I should have a name-tag that says ‘tired and unmotivated'”

But sometimes it’s not enough. Dangerous thoughts slip through the cracks…

“You’ve done so much study already, you’ll be fine!”

“I’m sure one episode of this TV show won’t hurt…”

“Look, just have this day to let your brain recuperate and then start again tomorrow.”

I learnt about this in PSYCH108. It’s one of Freud’s proposed defense mechanisms; it’s called rationalisation and it is when an individual creates explanations to justify “threatening” thoughts. In my case, my “threatening” thoughts are encouraging me to stop studying and have fun.

I’m sure that you know, but it is so easy to go out partying with your mates, to spend the day at the beach, to waste the day binge-watching a TV show. I know that I’ve fallen victim to these (especially the watching TV one) when I really should have been working on an assignment or studying for a test. And while it is great to go out and have fun, you need to remember that you are at university.


Going out one last time before exams

I know that, at times, I have forgotten that I’m here to earn a degree and to follow a passion. It’s easy to forget too; you’re away from home, looking after yourself and living in a city where there is always something new to catch your attention.

But whatever your reason for being at university is, whatever your “why” is, don’t lose sight of it.


Until next time – Emily