Exam hell (only a tiny exaggeration)

Exams – a necessary evil to prove knowledge has lodged itself in the brain or just a waste of time and energy for all concerned?I ask only as I’m currently post-exam, drinking restorative tea and munching my way through my mother in law’s cheese and biscuits, at her dining room table in her house. I’ve not been kicked out or run away from home, but the car is in for a service and it’s down the road from MIL’s and I scheduled my aforementioned exam for the same day – a rare day off work in the middle of the week. Admittedly I could have done my exam at my own house, but now it’s done, I’m glad I’m here instead. I might  have mentioned how flipping great my MIL is before, only a couple of times/more often than not but she really is.

So, the exam. Ugh. My legs are still a bit wobbly, my fingers have stopped shaking and I’m almost off the high of adrenaline that was a bit much. It wasn’t even a long exam, just 30 minutes over Skype with a nice chat afterwards with my tutor. The subject in question? Research methods; a bit dry and pedestrian but a skill that I’ll have to know about come the eventual return to student land. So why the wobbly legs and need for tea and cheese? If I’m honest, I have not a shred of self-belief in my own ability or intelligence. I know this without the need for my shrink (oh yeah, I have one of those these days too, a therapist if you will) telling me. I’m convinced that anything I do isn’t going to live up to expectations (whose expectations I’m not sure) and I’ll be drummed out of school, mocked by all. Each time I submit an essay I worry and stress about the quality and whether I’ve passed with a good enough mark. The irony of this is that my very first biology assessment is on stress. Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Historically I’ve never been very confident when it comes to exams, even when as a 10-year-old I sat my 11+ exams in a cold primary school classroom, self-doubt was ever-present. Coursework, essays and the day-to-day learning where I can interact and absorb the information and churn it out again in sensible conversations – that bit I love. Active learning they call it. Exams though, oy vey! Having to memorize information and then regurgitate it at the right moment with the right facts and figures, all while trying to keep spelling, grammar and punctuation accurate AND within a time limit, it’s enough to make even the most level-headed person do a massive sweat and get wobbly legs. Not to mention the crucial fact – HOW DO YOU REVISE?? Seriously, how do people do it? I know I know the information, I can talk at length about it but getting it to actually stick so I can churn it out again at the predetermined point in time? Impossible. For me anyway.

Image credit: Pinterest

To make matters leading up to the exam just a bit worse, I ended up with a migraine that sent me to bed yesterday for 4 hours. A 4 hour nap at 4pm, as any parent of a baby or toddler will tell you, kill the sleep pattern when bedtime actually rocks up. Not only will they not be as tired, when they do sleep (eventually) it will be restless, fidgety and most likely noisy. I remember Husband telling me to stop fidgeting and I remember having a tiny strop with him for daring to voice this request – I couldn’t sleep so why should anyone else? When I was asleep, I had dreams so bizarre and lucid that I woke up several times to make sure the cat wasn’t talking to me and that I wasn’t searching for my pet mouse that I saved from a certain death at the paws/jaws of my talking cat. Morning broke and I wasn’t amused. Dream Husband has been sleeping with another girl, right in front of me. I told Real Husband this as I stomped off the shower and he denied this accusation (there might have been a hint of a laugh in his reply – we’re not great first thing, BC/before caffeine). Stress dreams, they are not my favourite.

Yeah…stress dreams are JUST like this. Photo credit: Twitter @SandmanBot

Right this minute, I’m pretty high on relief and 2 cups of tea, 3 crackers with cheese and the promise of picking the car up and going for a walk around my favourite reservoir. Tonight will be a celebratory, paneer masala with rice and a pillowy naan bread. The highs with the lows, rough with smooth etc. Until the next exam.

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