Adverse effects of exams: a Masters student’s woes

It’s the end of semester, exams are done and dusted. We’ve all consumed the mandatory, well deserved post-exam alcohol. Strangely enough, it seems weird not going to the Information Commons (IC), a place that has served purposes of socialising, sleeping, eating and occasionally studying during exam time. Anyone who has studied constantly in the IC can identify with this feeling, the adrenaline rush you get when you spot an empty space from a distance, racing towards it with the unprecedented grace of an Olympic runner; the extreme joy if you get the space or the crushing sadness when someone else manages to snag the space before you get there. Then you just end up feeling sorry for yourself, and after giving few dirty looks to the space-snagger (who couldn’t care less) you resume the hunt.

Exams, especially for masters’ students, are trying times. We’re older and wrinklier than the happy, carefree undergraduates. We’ve had more time to drink away our brain cells to death and some of us are not that smart anymore. We are just a bunch of grumpy, over-caffeinated people who are trying to plough through essays and exam preparation. It would be unfair to put all masters’ students in the same category, there are some who plan their course work well in advance and it’s easy to spot these people in the herd mainly because they look well rested and sane. There are the other kind, like yours truly who procrastinate because there’s always tomorrow. People in this category show prominent characteristics such as tired eyes and pale skin; sort of like vampires who have lost the will to exist (or overdosed on Quorn sausages).

Its funny how exams affect different people differently; some people thrive under pressure while others freak out into hives. It is very important to find a place where you can be the most productive in terms of work. One of the problems of being too dependent on the IC, is the risk of not finding a space when you are desperately in the need of one. There is a special place in hell for people who leave their stuff on tables and disappear for 5-6 hours at a stretch. And then there are those who use the study spaces for productive work such as watching Youtube videos of cats chasing yarns or, in special cases, Youtube videos of wannabe rappers who could make you question your faith in music of any genre and humanity in general.

That’s why you feel like such a survivor after exams are done. There is a momentary void and a short period of confusion where you don’t know what to do with your sudden free time. But slowly things look up, especially if there is good weather and you have friends who are as jobless as you are. This period of happiness is infused with a tinge of sadness as we have to bid farewell to some people who became a part of our lives in a very short period of time. A masters’ course is definitely a war, and bidding farewell to your comrades is not an easy task, but thank god for social media. Staying in touch was never easier than this.

These days are a breather for us over-worked masters’ students, a short break and then plunge into dissertation. Then it’s back into the warm embrace of the IC, the heady anticipation of finding a good spot to sit and work. So for now I sign off, a temporarily de-stressed masters student, looking forward to a great summer; soaking in the sun in Weston park, a prospective hike to the Peaks,lazy days at home with my favourite book when its gloomy outside and making memories for a lifetime.

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