The Gods of academia are a pretty cruel bunch. If you go to university, your Christmas and New Year celebrations are going to be clouded by exam fear for the duration of your studies. If you have exams before the winter break the holidays are marred by the anticipation of your grades and if you have exams in the new year then each time you take a sip of mulled wine, at the back of your mind, there is niggling guilt at not studying. Or, if you are one of those amazingly studious people, festivities take a sideline as you focus on cramming. Whoever evented semesters was an evil genius.
Exams, by all accounts, are pretty shitty. International students also have to content with the stress of figuring out a totally different exam system and the majority (apart from a few super lucky people like myself) have to cope with doing exams in a second, third or even fourth language. All this can be pretty demanding. Everyone has different ways of studying and dealing with exams, from the super studious to the master procrastinators. And even those who seem to swan in to the exam without opening a book and leave with a 9.
Most of us lie somewhere along this continuum and we all, sometimes, have to have a wee exam-related freak out. But it is important to remember that if you are reading this you have probably, at some point, taken an exam and survived. Even if these past exams didn’t go as well as hoped, there is always next time. Try not to compare yourself to others as that is pointless, everyone is awful at something and amazing at something else. Maybe you were absolutely terrible at your first year Chemistry exam and failed it multiple times but you could end up, one day, winning a Nobel Prize, or MasterChef, or writing an award winning poem. Stanger things have happened.
Of course, we are all here to study, but very few people talk of their time studying abroad and wish that they had spent more time stressing about exams. Study for sure, you need to, but also try to enjoy yourself. And now the exams are over, for this semester at least, and there is nothing any of us can do to change how they went so take a break, don’t be too hard on yourself and get ready to start the whole rigmarole again next week.