It’s That Time Of Year Again… *Groans*

My all-important 10th grade examinations are right around the corner and I’m starting to realize that every single time the exam season rears its ugly head, I’m left feeling like my guts have been pumped out of my ears [yes, my similes are almost always this disturbing], so that alone should give you an idea that I’m not exactly in the best of moods at the moment.

To add to that is the unwelcoming fact that the upcoming exams aren’t just any old tests but a set of quizzes that are designed to simultaneously trip me up and define the rest of my high school career, so I’m sure you understand why I now feel like the school girl equivalent of the “La La Land” crew at the Oscars – dazed and so, so confused.

Don’t get me wrong, though; as contradictory as this may sound, I’m that annoying nerd in your class who absolutely LOVES answering exams. I adore the buzz of the exam hall moments before the question papers are handed out and the sound of pens scratching against mahogany desks and the smell of bewilderment and panic that cuts through the early morning air as students try desperately to salvage the situation.

The only part I don’t like is the guilt.

You see, where I come from, kids are INSANELY dedicated to academics and I’m not just saying that. I mean, I have classmates who started cramming the final year’s syllabus way back in the sixth grade, and that’s just the slackers!!

Apart from completely and totally freaking me out, being surrounded by students who study pretty much around the clock has a way of making me feel super guilty for ever even thinking about taking a break.

Every time I decide to play a few levels of Mario Kart or go outside for a run, I feel a wave of shame surge through my body as if to say, “Shouldn’t you be studying??” Every time I want to catch an episode of my favourite series on TV or binge on Youtube cat videos, I see visions of kids surrounded by mountains of text books and my desire to have some fun evaporates.

Thanks to this, I’m now forced to crawl under the bed every time I want to kill a couple of hours on the iPad [because everyone knows that you aren’t wasting time if nobody sees you do it] and I can only read chicklit under my blanket [because what happens between the sheets, stays between the sheets] and I’ve started to watch TV with the volume set at the bare minimum [because the lesser the volume, the lesser of a disappointment you are to your Mom – duh].

And for that I just have to say thanks to my dear, sweet classmates; thanks a whole lot.

Advertisements

I Exam, Therefore I Am

I have a theory that there is no feeling as beautifully refreshing as the relief that washes over you when you realize that your exams are over. Finished. Wrapped up. Done-dana-done-done.

And while I have no scientific evidence to back up my thesis, I’m pretty sure that if I surveyed a bunch of people, I’d reach the same exact conclusion; exams coming to an end is the best news EVER [yes, even better than there being pizza for dinner].

Which is why I am currently perched in front of the desktop with a family-sized tub of Tiramisu ice cream and a gallon of lemonade by my side, furiously typing away at the keyboard with exactly zero worries on my mind.

I mean, sure, considering how school began more than a week ago and I am yet to open a text book, I’m already WAY behind my classmates and that’s worrying me a teensy bit.

And I’m pretty certain that my music teacher is not going to be very pleased when he realizes that I haven’t touched my guitar in a month [in my defense, there were SO MANY great movies released in September and did you really expect me to sit around and do nothing about it?? From Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children to The Girl on the Train, I watched them all, first day, first show, which didn’t really leave me with much time to strum away] so maybe I’m a bit tense about that.

Oh, and I have all these competitions coming up which I am not at ALL prepared for, so I’m a wee bit nervous about getting my under-prepared butt kicked.

And don’t even get me started on the pathetic condition my blogs are in [they haven’t been updated in ages and ages and my follower count has been stagnant since 1997, not exactly a good sign]. The amount of work I need to put in to get them back on track is enough to get my heart racing [and not in a good way].

But, really, all these minor details cease to make a difference when it hits me that the exams have left us. Just like a harsh and troublesome winter, the exams have passed to give way to a lush, luxuriant spring and making the most of that is all I’m worried about at the moment.

Because now all I have to worry about is report card day.

Oh God.

The “S” Word

The only part of the year I despise more than exam time has dawned; school has officially reopened and the summer holidays are DEAD.

[I mean, summer will be back next year so I guess it’s not technically dead, but hello?? I’m trying to be dramatic here]

Unless you’re a student [or, worse, a teacher], I’m pretty sure you don’t realise the gravity of the situation. This isn’t just the death [okay, okay, temporary absence. Geez]of a regular school break, oh no no no. This is SUMMER, and at the end of summer, comes a brand new academic year, ready to ruin your life in ways you can’t even imagine.

Like every seasoned torturer, though, the fresh school year starts off deceivingly well; crisp, mint-condition notebooks, refilled stationery pouches, a new backpack [if you’re lucky] and the promise of a fresh start. It’s all too good to be true.

Okay, you optimistically think to yourself. My slate has been wiped clean. From this year –no, from this SECOND, I am going to be a changed person. No more last-minute assignments and late submissions. My books will be up-to-date, my lowest test score will be an A++ and every teacher is going to ADORE me. Forget MarioKart, I’m going to be the most studious kid on the block and that’s FINAL.

Needless to say, that’s not going to happen. Two weeks in and you’ve already missed a project deadline, your grade point average is steadily slipping and you’re already planning to move to Canada because you’ve heard they get longer holidays [I’m speaking from experience here].

And I wish I could say it gets better, but who am I kidding?? We’ve all gone through it. We all know how it rolls.

In a blink, it’s time for the mid-terms and the pressure from all sides could turn coal to diamond and the moment THAT’S over everybody immediately plunges head-first into the next semester’s material giving you exactly zero minutes to regain your sanity.

And a flurry of pop quizzes and science exhibitions later, it’s finals week and you’ve barely skimmed through your textbook. A series of all-nighters later, you manage to make it and are in the midst of congratulating yourself for surviving before you realise that your classmates are intently poring through next year’s textbooks and you internally groan.

Not because you forgot to answer the essay question [okay, ALSO because of that] but because you’ve got it; you’ve realised that we’re all so caught up in this wretched rat race that none of us have the time to stop and take a moment to breathe.

Our world has become so incredibly school-centric that’s it’s impossible to ignore the importance of our marks and percentages at every stage of our lives, so I’m not claiming that it’s best to isolate yourself from your homework and run with butterflies instead.

But ignoring the rest of the world and, more importantly, yourself in pursuit of a 100/100 is probably not the wisest course of action, either.

It’s finding that blissful in-between that’s the important part.

It’s beyond crucial to be able to strike an even balance between the two; yin and yang, black and white, chemistry equations and reading Dan Brown. I know that if we stop wasting time on YouTube and start managing our time effectively, we can do both so why not give it a shot [yes, I know I sound like your Mom]??

And now’s the perfect time to start. All those incomplete notebooks from last year can be safely forgotten because it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life and I’m feeling good [yes, I just quoted a Michael Bublé song. Deal with it].

Let’s stop fearing the S word and embrace it instead [I’ve just realised that there’s a possibility for misunderstanding. By the S word, I mean school. School, guys], because the moment we start, wonderful things are going to happen. I just know it.

Keep Calm and Kick Butt!

Summer, in all its crispy, fiery glory, has already engulfed us in its scorching arms and we all know what THAT means; weeks and weeks of glorious sunshine, lazing around with a delicious novel to immerse ourselves into, chasing the ice cream man for two rupee mango lollies…

But wait a minute! What’s the dark, ominous thing peeping at us from around the corner, blocking the brilliance of summer from truly reaching us??

That’s right; it’s the EXAMS.

[I’m going to pause for a moment while the horror of the situation sinks in…]

Yup, it’s a student’s worst nightmare and it’s HERE.

Depending on which grade you are in and which educational board your school follows, you could be either;

  1. Totally relaxing with your exams safely behind you
  2. Right in the midst of the exams, or
  3. Panicking because your exams are steadily approaching

I am super relieved to inform you that my classmates and I are firmly in the first category as our exams got over in the middle of March BUT for those of you who aren’t, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get through this terrifically trying time;

First of all, keep calm.

I know, I know; it sounds so OBVIOUS that you shouldn’t be panicking but here me out; the exam time is when students start to unintentionally stress about EVERYTHING from things they can do something about to things they most certainly can’t control.

The first step is to figure out which is which; is worrying about what you could have done really the best way to be spending so much valuable time?? Sure, you could have done so much more, but you haven’t, and that’s that. Things that have already happened are things that you can’t change so clear your mind of the little regrets and work on spending the time you have as fruitfully and effectively as possible.

Another mistake that students seem to be making around this time is neglecting their “essentials,” and by this I mean two main things – food and fresh air.

Just because you have that all-important science paper coming up in two days is not reason to ignore your dietary needs. Remember, one can only work truly efficiently on a full stomach.

Also, it’s important to remember that everybody needs a bit of enjoyment and you’ll find that a brisk walk in the evening or a game of footie with the neighbours will do your overworked brain a world of good.

Considering all that Chemistry cramming you have [hopefully] done, you probably know what H2O is the chemical symbol of water. But simply knowing that is not enough; it’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to use the information that you’ve got to your advantage and in this case, it means making sure that you’re properly hydrated throughout the day, a very vital key to making sure that your body as well as your mind remain healthy and alert.

Now that you’ve satisfied all your basic needs, all that’s left is to keep a clear head, confidently step into the examination hall and give it your all. Take a deep breath, stay cool and get ready to KICK BUTT.

You’ve got this.

My EXAM Strategy [Warning: Do NOT Try This At Home]

Okay, I say to myself,

On a crisp midsummer’s day,

Knuckle down, get back to work

For the exams aren’t far away

I’ll make a plan and get to the grind

After one last movie

I mean, who can resist Tatum

Boy, isn’t he groovy

So I sit to watch with a bowl o’ corn

And an extra-large Coke Zero

And proceed spend the next three days

Glued, surveying my big-screen hero

ENOUGH, I want to scream to myself,

Get a grip on your own life!!

Switch off the TiVo, hit the books

And, PLEASE, stop watching Wife

So I tie my hair in a tidy bun,

Sit down to do some work

And JUST when I’m set to start math

My best friend decides to smirk

“Studying is for nerds, mon amie,

And we are everything but those,”

At this point, I’m forced to agree

[I prefer nodding my head to rows]

So she helps me persuade my ‘rents,

Then we head out for some fun,

And the time I come back home

It’s already quarter past one!!

THE EXAMS ARE IN SIX FREAKING DAYS!!

I scream and shout to myself

And I’m less prepared than I’ve ever been

So much for being a Santa’s elf!!

My mouth turns into a slash of resolve

As I finally, really wake up

There’s nothing that can save my now

Except a whole lot of luck

Or maybe there’s time to save myself

From becoming a laughing stock

Keeping this in mind I start on Chem…

Until I remember Mr Spock

It’s time for my weekly Star Trek dose

Of which I can’t be deprived

But I promise myself that I’ll be back

Just after content become my eyes

Of course, that moment never truly arrives

And I emerge in a daze

Have I really watch all the Star Treks again??

The last few hours are a muddle haze

But OH MY GOD to my astonishment and shock

I have precisely ninety-six hours more

Before the exams grandly commence

And F’s come a-knocking on my door

 

A Trusty Manual On How To Convince Yourself That You’ve Studied Enough

I’m probably the last person you’d turn to for exam advice. Heck, I’m the last person I’d ask for a helping hand when it comes to making Chemistry notes or tidying-up a packed schedule.

But that’s only because I am the most put-it-away-for-later kind of person who’s ever walked the face of the earth, and for ONCE, I am SO not exaggerating [OK, maybe a little].

Sure, I MEAN well. I make all sorts of timetables and programmes and to-do lists and in my mind, I’m always thinking stuff like, “By tomorrow, I should be finished with this chapter as well as those Algebra formulas, so that by next week, I will only have one lesson to complete,” and all sorts of other academic baloney. And, to be honest, in my MIND, everything is always running smooooothly.

But in reality?? Things are much, MUCH different.

For example, my brain thinks I’m all prepared for the exams. I mean, it muses, all I have to do is mug a couple more French irregular verbs and a few of those weird Biology diagrams and I’m good to go. How hard can labelling a few pictures really be, right??

Well, my dear darling brain, considering how I have the attention span of a potted plant, even “labelling a few pictures” can turn out to be a real nightmare.

If you think about it, bearing in mind that my exams are a mere twenty days away, I should be a lot more panicky. I’ve barely skimmed through a single chapter, forget crammed all of that crazy Congruent gobbledygook. But hey, maybe the best way to prepare is not to prepare at all [or at least that’s what I keep telling myself]…