Thursday, 4 May 2017

An Open Letter to Students during Exam Season

You can do this.

You may not think you can - you may even doubt your ability to string a coherent sentence together - but you've got this. If you managed to get into this place, then you are smart enough to scrape through first year, push through second year, and smash third year. You've been working towards this all year, so get your laptop and type that essay. Open your textbook, grab your highlighters, and colour code those notes. Stick them everywhere. Read them again and again until they're branded on the back of your brain. Do your research - find that piece of theory that'll make the difference between a 67 and a 70. Check your essays for contractions and, yes, we all hate it, but do your best to reference right. 

And when you feel like breaking down, like the world's crashing down around you, like you've already failed, take a break. Take a minute. An hour. A day. You can't work all the time, and it won't do you any good to anyway, so take that time when you need it. Go out for that drink with your friend. Watch that show. Play that game. Come back tomorrow refreshed and ready. 

Procrastination should be a deadly sin. Turn off your phone. Close Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest. Hell, disconnect the internet if you don't need it. Take yourself somewhere with fewer distractions, like the library, a quiet common room, or a coffee shop. Avoid people - the biggest distractions of all - just until you're done with your study session.

Reward yourself for things done right. A bar of chocolate. A packet of sweets. Something from the takeaway. Have something you're running towards, something you want. Tell yourself, "After that exam, I'm going to buy that book and read it in an afternoon," or grab your friends after you've submitted your final essay and go somewhere fun.

Look at the criticism they've given you before and feed off it. Tell yourself that they don't believe you can do it. Nothing will motivate you like having something to prove. Form feedback groups with your friends. Go and see your lecturers. Work out what you're doing wrong, and fix it.

You've got this.

Good luck.