Exam season. The hours spent translating your garbled and useless notes into flashcards. Surviving solely on energy drinks and fear of failure. Only ever raising your head from your blank notepad to scowl at strangers who dare make a sound that would almost definitely interrupt your “work” session, were you actually doing any. And if you’re anything like me, the reason exam season is so utterly shit isn’t the thought of sitting in silent rooms with invigilators awkwardly reading over your shoulder- it’s the dreaded “ugh-god-I don’t-want-to-revise” slumping feeling that’ll hover around you and the library in the run up to the actual paper.
It’s not that you don’t want to do well. It’s not that you aren’t capable of learning the stuff. It’s just that there’s somewhere in the region of seventeen thousand other things you’d rather do before sprawling your lecture notes out in front of you and sharply realising that you remember nothing of any value from an entire academic year. Roughly half of those things involve some form of physical pain or discomfort, but they’re still preferable to the tedious mountain ahead of you.
Uh, revision. No one can possibly have ever enjoyed revision. The dull re-reading of lecture Powerpoints has never, in all history of Powerpoints, stirred feelings of joy or amusement in any student. They’re usually hungover, staring at hastily scribbled notes dotted with lost hangman games and to-do lists, nurturing a vague sense of contempt for everything, everywhere. Alternatively, they’re tentatively questioning their friends- trying to gauge how little work everyone else is doing in order to abate the overwhelming feeling of guilt in the back of their minds. The guilt that stares at you like the emotional love child of your mother realising you completely forgot her birthday and the look of pure confused sorrow a puppy will give you when you accidentally tread on it’s paw.
This is the time of year where we should all be hunkering down and studying. You know, studying. Making sense of things lecturers told you seven weeks ago while you were gently snoring away at the back of the room . Studying! It’s cramming an entire year’s reading list into three nights. It’s dutifully highlighting your notes in the vain hope that by colouring the entire page in luminous yellow you’ll magically absorb every word. You must’ve heard of studying. It’s what everyone else is doing while you’re reading this.
But instead of that, students come up with a plethora of distracting and time consuming things to do instead. Usually we aim for something that we could argue holds some kind of value to our life, like finding a Youtube video that teaches you how to make quiche from scratch, or carefully picking out outfits for the summer holidays you haven’t booked yet. We shrilly justify these things with a mild sense of panic and fear of being caught out if our motives are questioned.
“I have to label every single item in the fridge and food cupboards, because, well, I think it’s high time we actualised a structure in this kitchen, you know- I found a mouldy carrot the other month- terrible- and I’m in the process of developing a spreadsheet to note down what everyone’s eaten already, and really, if you’re against this, then, well, you can just, well, fuck off really.”
I take some comfort in knowing I have friends who are that the two opposite ends of the revision scale. My closest friend had to be physically forced into revising for a syntax module last year (though I don’t blame her…), yet another of my close friends genuinely did not know what the word “procrastination” meant, which made me love her even more, and broke my heart simultaneously. Wedging myself in between these two extremes makes for an only slightly uncomfortable stance; a cosy middle that consists of making notes and flashcards, but only of slight educational value. Reading the lecture notes whilst sipping fruit cider in the garden. Reading the summary of the studies I’m supposed to be committing to memory.
So when you decide to tentatively ask me how much revision I’ve done for the upcoming exam, instead of doing my usual trick of lying and making out I’ve been hitting the library from 7am till 9pm daily, rather than watching re-runs of Scrubs all week, I’m going to be honest with you. “Revise? Ha, no, I wrote a blog instead.”