By PLA Alanna
It’s that time of year again: volcanoes erupt, earthquakes rattle buildings, extra-terrestrials invade, and zombies rise. Oh, and it’s exam time. In short, it’s the end of the world.
Yes, this is a gross overstatement, but there is some truth in it. Truth lies in the way students begin to hunker down in library carrels or at desks, and stock up on food. Or how we work all the way up to or just before our exams, cramming information into our heads and hoping it will be enough for us to survive.
But I think the thing that makes exams seem most like the end of the world is the way we treat our exam dates as though they are “zero hour” – when our academic fates are cast. We tell ourselves that we have to “get through them” as though they are catastrophes. So yes, it feels a bit like the end of the world.
But does it have to feel that way?
Even without the stress of exams and essays there is the sense that an end is coming, the end of an academic year. As such, there is a feeling that it’s too late to make goals, try new strategies, get to know a professor, or change bad academic habits. This kind of stuff is reserved for the beginning of the year or semester. We can’t change, so it’s the end. We study and wait appropriately, patiently craving our results.
This time around, I’m doing things differently.
I’ve decided I’m going to try some new study strategies, take more breaks, and exercise during the exam period. I’m going to look at my exams not as things to be dreaded, but as opportunities to show what I’ve learned regardless of the grade I walk away with.
And, each day, I’ll be learning not just what I’m studying but how I’m studying and therefore learning more about myself. As long as you can grow and change (and you can always do so) it can never be the end of anything.
I hope it doesn’t feel like the end of the world to you. I know that you, too, can feel fine.