Well, that’s it. Over. Done with. It all came to an abrupt and very final stop two weeks ago. I have always viewed the end of exams as a little bit of an anti-climax. I mean sure, there is that initial rush that you get as you walk out of the exam hall knowing that when you wake up tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, you have nothing to do. But this wears thin and all those lost hours of sleep from the previous weeks with the stress and study and constant worry about your level of preparedness take over. You realise you’re very tired.
Exams in Trinity are very taxing.
Most assessment is based purely on exam results and although semesterised, we only sit end-of-year exams meaning we can be tested on anything we’ve learnt for the entire year. I started studying earlier than I ever have before, these being my finals, and while it helped with my preparedness, the stress levels remained. These were probably compounded by the fact that every year without fail when students start converging en masse to the libraries and table space becomes a premium, the sun comes out here in Dublin and there’s no sign whatsoever of rain. The days start that little bit earlier and the sun shines brightly, as if testing our power of will in the face of looming exams. Every year without fail.
I walked from my final exam with a smile on my face.
It had gone very well with some friendly questions found when I turned the paper over. I had completed 19 hours of exams in six days. My second paper had not gone well at all but I think when it comes to exams everyone is going to have a poor paper, the trick is to forget about it and move on confident in the knowledge that there are points that can be made up in the next papers. A sense of elation quickly infused me with an energy that was distant from my actual reserves.
As a class, we headed to the Pavilion Bar, a Trinity post exam institution.
In the Pav, with people sprawled out all across the lawn, we laughed and joked about the previous four years. Here we stood, all of us now having honours degrees. We had a few drinks and ate some lunch and enjoyed the weather which had the courtesy of staying nice and warm for us. Great plans were made for the night ahead. Looking around with a sense of achievement it began to happen; my eyelids started to feel remarkably heavy. Soon, sitting around a very subdued table, I noticed the eyelids of my classmates were faring no better in their battle against tiredness. With that, not wanting to force the issue, we finished our drinks and headed home for a well earned afternoon nap, a re-charge if you will for the night that was to follow. Done and dusted.