Five things you should do after exams (but probably won't)

June 24, 2016
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The end of the exam period provides so many opportunities to consolidate your learning from the past few months, reset your mind and body, and prepare yourself for next semester’s challenges. Let’s be real though – you’ll probably do none of those things. Here’s a handy list of all the positive steps you should be taking (but we know you probably won’t).

Take note of the exam questions

You’ve just walked out of a brutal three-hour slog. It was your last exam, and you’re finally liberated. The cool air outside the hall tugs at your ears, whispering of adventures to come. The first thing you want to do with all this freedom is go back to the library and write down all the questions you just painstakingly answered, right? Um, no.

You know full well that if you did, your future self would be super grateful next time exams came around. Your future self would also love it if you neatly filed away all of your notes for future reference. You resolve to write your future self a sorry note – maybe on a bar coaster tonight.

Detox from exam binge-eating

Exam period is a stressful time, even when you’ve only got one or two exams. You might have a sore back from hunching over a laptop and you’re probably starting to get headaches from grinding your teeth over convoluted practise questions. Your body needs a break. Now that you’re finished, it’s the perfect time to detox and reset.

What you should do: put away the M&Ms you’ve been rewarding yourself with at the end of each paragraph. Eat some fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Rest up. Maybe try some yoga.

What you’ll probably do: add vodka to red bull, which you resisted doing for so long. Switch late nights at the library for the club, or your mate’s backyard, or wherever else there are drinks and tunes and pizza. Detoxing is for wimps, anyway.

Learn that new skill you’ve been putting off

You know that short course you’ve been planning on taking for like, two-and-a-half years? Maybe it’s learning what all those tools in InDesign actually do. Maybe it’s a crocheting course so you can make your own snood for winter. Maybe you want Oscar, the tall Swedish stable-hand, to teach you to ride a horse out in the hills.

It doesn’t matter, really, because it’s probably not going to happen. After exams is a great time to do it, but you’ll be busy with, you know, other really important things. Like sleep-ins. How good are sleep-ins?

Work more hours at your part-time job

Now that you don’t have all those pesky tutorials to attend, your schedule is looking a whole lot more spacious. What to squeeze into all those empty slots? More work! It’d be so easy to call your boss and let them know you want as many shifts as possible for the next few weeks.

Your bank balance could really do with the boost. Plus, you deserve to treat yourself after a tough semester, and there’s that ASOS sale on at the moment. You’ll probably stare at your phone in indecision for a long few minutes… and then open it up and start a group message with your mates. Anyone free for drinks tomorrow night?

Get a head start on next semester's readings

This is the pipedream of people who like to think of themselves as good students everywhere. You’re already enrolled in the units. You know the reading list is just sitting there in Blackboard or Moodle or whatever they’re calling it these days.

If you’re lucky, you probably don’t even have to buy any textbooks – the PDFs are already there waiting for you. Think of the great impression you could make in your first tutorial. Hell, you could even get started on the first assignment and really get ahead! Keep dreaming, kid. This is just not a thing that happens, and the sooner you admit it to yourself, the better.

Matt Norman

Matt is a freelance writer, poet, educator and student from Perth.

Image: Justine Reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license