So the university year is coming to an end, you’re facing last assignments, final exams and are putting the finishing touches to your group projects. We all deal with exams in different ways, some spend weeks sticking to a perfectly constructed study plan, others will spend a week revising and the rest will have a cram session the night before, in between crying into bowls of Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s. Each year you find yourself reacting differently to your assignments and exams.
In first year you will find yourself writing your essay’s the night before it’s due. You will have spent a few days, if that, researching your topic after weeks of procrastination. Finally you will sit at your desk, surrounded by notes, cans of red bull, and an unhealthy amount of junk food. You will write into the early hours of the morning ,doing anything to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. You have found yourself in this stressed position with every essay you previously faced; and at the end of it you always tell yourself ‘never again’. While you know that university is important, and you are privileged to be where you are; you also know that first year doesn’t count. All that is important is getting at least 40% on each essay and you can continue into second year.
Second year is a different story entirely. Instead of waiting till the last minute to write you essay, you start the night you’re given it. You will spend weeks researching, planning, and writing your essay. You will surround yourself with colour coordinated lecture notes, and feel a sense of accomplishment as you watch the word count rising. When it comes to the day of your deadline you can be found in the SU, casually sipping on a rum and coke relishing in the fact that you handed your work in two days ago. You worked hard all year and at the end you found it paid off. Second year is the beginning of your real university course; second year is your year!
From all the practice you did in second year you would think that you’d be a pro at essay writing; your revision techniques should be like a well-rehearsed dance. You have spent all summer in quiet, or utterly obnoxious confidence that you are finishing university with a well-deserved 1st, or an equally respectable 2:1. But then you receive your first grade, for an essay you spent weeks on and the reality of third year hits you. As you re-read the feedback for your 3rd rate essay you can’t help but think ‘no one prepared me for this’. The quality of your work hasn’t changed, so why have your grades? Well third year IS the hardest year of university for a reason. It is the year you are meant to show how much you have learned, and that you are, in fact, an intellectual young adult. With each passing assignment you start a little later, your expectations are lowered, and your grades begin to fall. By the end of the year you find yourself on a sinking ship, equipped with nothing but a tiny tea strainer and little hope of survival. In other words you’re going down, and all you can do is yell timber.