On Thursday morning my lazy summer days were rudely interrupted by the reality of exam results. Waking up at 8.30 in the morning and getting the bus to school was an all too familiar process, the bed that was uncomfortable and too hot the night before felt much more appealing in the early hours of the morning, and the routine of getting up and going into school in the middle of August felt wrong. I feel as if exams are universally acknowledged as a anxious time, and during those weeks of stress this brought me comfort, knowing that it was not just me lying in bed at 2.30am trying to remember the framework of an amino acid. They also provided my brain with something to focus on, allowing my anxiety to centre on my exams and not on every other aspect of life and this made things easier in a way. People seem more accepting of exam stress than everyday stress, general anxiety having a slight stigma associated with it because of its lack of focus, meaning when i was feeling a bit shit due to general life, exam stress was a good scapegoat.
Thursday morning refreshed my memory of the exam season, which had been forgotten the day summer began. Exam’s are not an obvious fashion opportunity due to the early morning starts, the preoccupation of remembering every date associated with the german reformation and the fact that at this point you’ve probably stopped caring. In my mind its all about comfort, normally opting for a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, I also take in a bottle of water topped up with some rescue remedy incase of any mid exam fretting which is usually expected. With exams comes major superstition, after completing the first paper and not having a break down, there is always a part of my brain that questions, if i change my outfit for tomorrow will things not go as well? I try to ignore these thoughts and like to think that the fact my exam outfit did stay the same for the duration was just a coincidence. What brought me comfort in this time of questionable sanity was to see my friends superstitious rituals, one of them carrying with her a four leaf clover in a tiny wooden box and another dressing in themed outfits to correlate with each examination.
After emerging from the room of tiny tables and exam papers there is always the immediate feeling of relief, that the exam is over and your results are now out of your hands. About 3 minutes after the initial relief, people usually begin discussing what questions they answered and which boxes they ticked which can often be a huge slap in the face, forgetting everything I wrote down and feeling a little bit panicky that i didn’t mention that Martin Luther translated the Bible into German in 1522, which suddenly seems like a major error and one that would probably ruin my life. However, after a few months and quite a lot of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, exams don’t seem as important as they had in that tiresome last term of school.