A few months ago I wrote about surviving a dissertation. At this point in time that had been the most stressful piece of work I had ever been faced with. Then final exams came along.
Most people don’t like exams very much (I know that struggle all too well). But they have been a part of life for as long as I can remember. Having survived GCSEs and A Levels, how much more difficult could it really get? First year was (almost) a walk in the park. Second year exams were slightly more challenging, but feeling motivated after a great performance in first year and lots of eager preparation, they were a smooth ride.
Something very strange happened in final year. Everything I thought I knew mattered slightly less. I started off the year feeling incredibly motivated – it was after all my last chance to shine and finish my degree in style. I applied the same strategy that had always worked so well (including frequent procrastination and unexpected bouts of genius). As the year came to an end and exams were looming, I felt an overwhelming amount of anxiety. It all became very real. This very moment was what I had been working towards pretty much all my life. If I failed now, it would all have been for nothing…and so I crumbled under the weight of self-created pressure.
In hindsight (thank goodness for that), I realise there are some important things I wish I had kept in mind throughout. Firstly, there is no shame in asking for help – be it a late night panic email to a lecturer or a text to a fellow classmate. Secondly, it wasn’t the end of the world. I was convinced everything came down to this single event, but in reality, there is life after university and even greater things still waiting to happen. And finally, I had all it took to succeed. I had three years of hard work and effort backing me, and all the support I needed.
Besides the obvious study for your exams and so forth, my advice to you: eat as many cookies as you need to get you through, call a friend once in a while and don’t forget, its only one chapter in your book!
Univeristy of Gloucestershire has a lot of support available for students. The student achievement team can help improve academic work and enhance study skills.