Stressful or Grateful

'All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast' Proverbs 15:15

The British exam season has commenced: students across the peninsula are chaining themselves (metaphorically, not literally) to desks of libraries, bedrooms and schools to study for GCSEs, A-Levels and degrees. Those at the beginning of this examination journey are terrified, those in the middle are stressed because university places are at stake and those of us nearing the end are despairing at yet another summer spent indoors drawing mind-maps and gaining weight. I could continue with this train of thought and whine and groan about how much life sucks right now, but I'm not going to. After all, at this level of education, I chose to have these exams! However, this year things have FINALLY clicked into place (about time!) Educators have been saying this for ages, but it's all about finding out how YOU learn best and understanding that, for most people, this is a variety of different ways. There are times when I need to go to the library and slog it out, but university libraries during exam time are unbearable and make me freak out like crazy, so I find alternative places like the University Chaplaincy or local cafes where there's still a hubbub and I'm still away from home, but the atmosphere is not oppressive. There are other times when I know that just walking to the library is a form of procrastination, so leaping out of bed and straight on to my desk with a cup of tea is the best way forward. I know now, that if I need to write something that is coherent then it needs to be written before 1pm, I know that repeating verb conjugations and words aloud are the best way for me to remember them, and I know the best time for reading literary texts is sat in bed with a cup of coffee. 
Last night as I sat in bed with my de-caff coffee, German radio and Brecht's 'Life of Galileo' I suddenly realised that despite working hard and despite feeling stressed, I'm really enjoying this season - it's basically wall to wall learning. What's more I'm learning about things I CARE about. I mean c'mon the very reason I chose to study German at university was so that I could study Brecht! It's finally dawned one me that the only way to get through exam season without wanting to pull your face off is to recognise the value of your education. It's only in the last century that the doors to learning have been opened to all in this country and we need to appreciate the opportunity given to us. If you're doing your GCSEs I encourage you to take them seriously and realise that working hard for the next month or so will greatly increase your future opportunities, for those at A-Level keep your sights on the goal but also remember to enjoy the subjects, because A-Levels can be fun if you MAKE them fun. For those of us at university, who can barely put a meal together or wash ourselves for fear of work-guilt, let us remember that we only have ourselves to blame and that actually by being at university we are among the most privileged human beings on the planet. Go forth with a cheerful heart and try to remember why you chose to study this subject in the first place. I promise it'll transform the way you progress through the next month.
Right, I'm off to have some yummy homemade fish and chips (courtesy of my very good friend) and then settle down in front of Gilmore Girls (in German, because I have my German Aural exam tomorrow - see? Learning can be fun!)


  1. This post was fab - really refreshing amongst the usual moans about exam season!

    p.s SNAP to the Ikea bed covers...I've got those!

  2. I've made such a bad habit of moaning about exams (I'm just finishing my last year of A-levels!) but then, as you said, I just have to remind myself that I chose these subjects! They are what I wanted to learn!
    Thank you for the encouragement!
    Praying you keep up your positive attitude and do well through your exams! :)

  3. I love how you blog about your exams. :) I wish luck!
    I'm new here and I love your blog already!
    I followed you on tumblr. :)


  4. Best of luck with your exams! <3 Just hang in there lady!

    Lost in the Haze: a Fashion Photography Blog

  5. This is so sweet and very true. I would be beyond stressed come exam time but I kept telling myself it would all be worth it in the end - and I survived! Best of luck to you on all of your exams :] It will all be over soon enough.

  6. This is such a good blog!