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Vol 38  No 12
April 6, 2006


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Student View

By Megan Jackman



Final exams and a few thoughts for my fellow students

9 a.m.: Eat breakfast, study. Noon: Eat lunch, continue to study. 5 p.m.: Eat supper, study more. 6:15 p.m.: You can do it! Contemplate plastering room walls with Post-It Notes displaying encouraging and motivational messages.

Study straight for the next two weeks? Sure, I can do it. And, I’m going to enjoy it.

No, I am not going to loathe every minute cooped up with my nose in a book. Remember when Dawson’s Creek took on college? They just had a blast. I don’t remember them complaining about final exams! They spent very little time in the library (or class) and still managed to carry on some of the most sophisticated conversations of our time. Wow, they had university-equals-glamour written all over them.

Note to Dawson’s Creek: you gave me false pretences of what to expect from university life; I, unlike Dawson or Joey, certainly cannot have epiphanies which lead me to buy a car and trek across the nation to “find myself.” I have final exams to worry about and, while I am paying for an education, I cannot really afford to “find myself.”

Oh well, we all know that real life bears little semblance to life on television.

Okay, so I definitely will not be able to make the next few weeks an enjoyable (or glamorous) experience. Yet, in retrospect, this time of the semester always does seem to make for a few colourful memories. For example, thanks to a hectic winter exam schedule last year, I now have a story to tell of how I was nearly eaten alive by seagulls.

Yes, I did say seagulls. It was 6 a.m., the day before an organic chemistry final exam; I thought I was being real keen by rising early. My plan was to make a quick breakfast-to-go and then bolt for an all-day study session in the Education Building. I was totally focused on the chemistry. It was the only thing on my mind.

This feeling would not last long ­ it was simply too good to be true. I was being overzealous and, for that, someone, somewhere wanted to give me a reality check.

The breakfast-to-go consisted of a slice of toast with a thick layer of peanut butter. It was going to be a long day, but at least I could relax a bit while enjoying my breakfast on the walk to school. I had to pass Burton’s Pond to get to school; I knew the ducks and pigeons would envy my piece of toast but I was not worried about them ... they could envy from afar.

No sooner had this thought crossed my mind, when three-dozen crazy, screeching, seagulls appeared out of nowhere, all swooping frantically toward my head; they obviously wanted my toast!

I was frantic too! I flung my toast over my head and took off running (as if for my life), book-bag bobbing up and down, and letting little squeaks out under my breath (which were really subdued squeals for fear that I would draw attention to myself). Luckily, no one was within sight. I didn’t stop running until I had reach the Science Building, far from the mob.

I turned around to see the gulls still fighting over my breakfast. I had to laugh at myself, it was too much adrenaline for that early in the morning.

So, there is one good thing I got out of the “final exams experience”: a story to tell.

Throughout the past two-and-a-half years, I have spent at least 10 weeks of my life in a “study psychosis.” Logically, I know exams will not last forever, but that does not reduce the time spent fretting about it.

And so the most satisfying activity during this time is complaining about all the studying to anyone who will listen. In fact, during my first three semesters I became slightly attached to the telephone. Somehow I don’t think it was coincidence that my grandparents got caller-ID for the first time immediately following the end of my first semester of university.

Note to self: complaining about my final exam studying to the family will not decrease the amount of work left to do. It may cause the family to up-and-jet somewhere with no telephones (no phone time at all would certainly be harder to deal with than the self-control required to maintain a reasonable number of phone calls).

Note to grandparents: I will not phone you during final exams to unload my complaints (at least not incessantly). Please do not evacuate; I may actually have a legitimate emergency and need to reach you by phone (yes, I have read the definition of legitimate and I know what classifies).

All this talk of final exams reminds me of the crazy amount of studying I still have left to do. I’d probably enjoy freaking out about this with some stressed-out friends. I probably do not want to hear about how “it will all be over soon dear, you just need to have a cup of tea and then try to study a little more.”

What I probably need is a period of hibernation, pronto. But, under no circumstances am I going to complain about exams this semester (at least not out loud).

Nope. Not. One. Little. Bit.

­ Megan Jackman is a less-stressed-than-usual pharmacy student

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