After a 5-year hiatus, Zibin’s back in school and it’s finals week. It’s been a long time, but some things are still the same. When he studies, it is so easy for him to get into the groove and to stay focused. I’ve always envied that about him.
Even from Toronto, I can sense the intensity with which he’s working. Sometimes I miss studying for exams. I don’t miss the stress, but I did like the structure of exam week. That extreme focus. The rhythm. The adrenaline. The calm right before I begin writing my exam. Trying to trust in my memory, knowing that it’s not how much I remember but how much I can make of what I know… And the satisfaction of handing in the exam paper at the end.
Am I romanticizing? Perhaps a little. But really, with a certain frame of mind, exams can be a very peaceful experience. The only requirement is that you recognize exams for what they are, and what they are not. They are an instrument of learning assessment – some better designed than others. Many are appallingly designed. They are not a measurement of one’s native intelligence, or even necessarily of one’s understanding of the subject. Don’t be tricked into letting exams become a gauge of your worth as a student, or as a person!
With the right frame of mind, it’s not too difficult to be in control of them, rather than allowing exams to take control of us.
Enjoy exam week!