There are certain words and phrases that, as university students, are designed to make our skin crawl:
- 9am lecture (even though we know that there’s a higher chance of finding a vacant booth in the Diamond than us actually going)
- Assessed group project (because it’s that much harder, though not impossible, to complete this from the comfort of your own bed)
- Exam period
And as we enter this dreaded time of prolific procrastination, and if we’re lucky, actual, real, honest-to-god revision, we wave a sad goodbye to every other part of our lives that doesn’t actively correlate with us passing our degrees.
Because we all know that we can only put off exam preparations for so long before the inner countdown begins and we realise that we do still have 99 lectures to watch (some of us for the very first time) before we can even begin to feel remotely prepared for our upcoming exams and assignments. Some of us thrive under the pressure, others crumble, but one thing for certain is that suddenly, those seminars that we missed because we were ‘unwell’ that day suddenly start to matter. But we have come this far, through all the hurdles that education has thrown at us and have successfully landed in a top university. So if we can do that, we can definitely take on two 4,000 word assignments, one dissertation proposal and one 3 hour Restoration and 18th Century Literature exam, right? Right?
The hardest part is starting, actually motivating yourself to make a revision schedule, or opening up that textbook previously used as a coaster for the past 6 months. It’s turning off season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy and trudging down to the library to begin the long, slow process of catching up on everything that you’ve missed.
And sometimes it’s hard to ignore the rather loud, rather enthusiastic voice in your head encouraging you that you really have to go to that quiz at Bar One, and that one more day of putting off work won’t really matter in the long run. (This is the same voice that told you that taking on the rainbow challenge at Corp was a good idea, and makes you go to Dempsey’s every single time that you go out despite claiming to hate it. This voice gets you into a lot of trouble.)
But when you find it hard, try to remember why it is that you came to university in the first place. How you wanted that higher level of education, that accolade of a degree that only hard work can get you, that pride of saying where you went and what you achieved. Try to skip ahead and imagine how it is that you’ll look back on your time at university- one of the best times of your life, no doubt, but also one of the most inductive to your career. Take that motivation and remember it, because you’ll need it.
Plan your revision. Be prepared. Don’t let the anxiety of starting it keep you away from it. But don’t let it overwhelm you. Looking at the big pile of books you’ve got to get through is enough to strike the fear in any student, so instead of thinking of your revision as one big mammoth task, break it into smaller ones. Make a specific exam schedule of what you want to do and when, and be realistic (if you know that you aren’t going to get up at 6am every day to rigorously re-watch every lecture since first year, don’t pretend that you are). Know your limits, but also make sure that you don’t just do the bare minimum – no one is getting a first class degree that way.
Exam time is important, and it will help to shape our futures. So give your education the chance and time that it deserves to take you further, and to help you become a future self that you can be proud of.