Last week of school: survived!

December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

Exam season is in full swing and even though I took this past weekend off from studying to recuperate, I’m feeling pretty exhausted. A few weeks ago, Skjalg told me that he was going to take the first two days of exam period off. When he told me that, I immediately regarded it as a silly idea and told him that I couldn’t do that. It soon became evident that Skjalg knew better than me. This past week was a trudging waist-deep in mud, lighting and thunderstorms overhead, broken will, lack of sleep, heart beating heavily in your chest kind of week. By Friday night, I was over-exhausted in my entire body and I had a constant pain running around my eyes and across my forehead. Skjalg and I had planned to go out and celebrate his birthday, but he decided that watching a movie and cuddling on the couch was a better idea – and for that I was grateful!

Despite the huge challenge the exams of the past week held, I am happy to say that all the hard work paid off. I was prepared that one or two would go by the wayside, but it turned out that that mental preparation was unnecessary. In small news, I passed my Basics of Medical Chemistry final (an elective Skjalg and I were taking…for which we studied only two hours) and I got a 5 in Hungarian. As for the big ones, they went better than expected! I got a 5 on my Physiology lab exam (along with most of my group) and a 2/2 on my Biochemistry lab exam.

Then came the real kicker: the last physiology seminar exam. A couple weeks ago I discovered that, if I could pull off a 3 and a 4 on my last two seminar tests and get a 5 on the lab exam, I would be able to snag the elusive 5 bonus points. At that point, it felt like a shot in the dark. The last two weeks are the heaviest of the semester and it felt pretty optimistic to think that I could pull it off. But, that wasn’t going to stop me from trying! The first surprise came when I got a 4 on the first of the two – that meant I only needed a 3 on the last! That was possible, right? Problem was, the last was on the same day as the physio lab exam, which was worth 25% of our grade and therefore a much bigger priority…

By the time the day arrived, I felt that I had to make peace with the fact that it was not going to go as hoped.  I had spent one full day reviewing the material the weekend before, but that didn’t feel sufficient enough. Jannie was over at our place the morning of, since we studied for the lab exam together. As the potential time to study for that last seminar test slipped away, I started to feel horrible. I began to beat myself up, thinking that if I only I had done this differently and that differently, things would be better. It’s not a great mindspace to be in….So, I decided to remove the emotion and think about it reasonably. All I could do was review what I had managed to go over before and hope to do well on those questions that pertained to those topics. As for other questions, I would just have to remind myself that I don’t really deserve to get points on something I haven’t studied. The tests were an evaluation of our ability to cover and understand the material – and that’s it. Going into the seminar test I told myself, “This may not go well, but do your best on those questions that you can answer and learn from the ones that you can’t”.

The seminar test ended up being all open questions (normally there are at least 3 multiple-choice). Seeing that, as it was being passed out, made my stomach drop. However, once I had the page in front of me and looked at the questions, I had to do a double-take – I knew these! Most of the questions were based on the material that I had covered. Oh gosh, I thought to myself, as a glimmer of hope relit inside me, I might actually be able to do this.

Our teacher sent us an email with the results on Monday night, but forgot the excel attachment – talk about nerve-wracking! When he sent it a second time yesterday morning, my heart jumped. Skjalg and I were in the library and I brushed his arm and pointed at the loading document on my phone. It flashed on the screen and I scrambled to locate the results. My average: a 4.6. But how?? (You need between 4.5-5.0 average to get 5 bonus points. I was at 4.4 and needed a 3 on the seminar test to bring me to a 4.5. So where did the extra 0.1 come from?) I soon found that, to my great surprise, I managed a 5 on last week’s seminar exam! It’s unbelievable the feeling you get when your hard work pays off – and even more so when it pays off better than you had hoped. The best part of all this – even better than the actual bonus points – is the confirmation that the way I am studying is working for me, and working well. We are always worried about whether or not we are studying the right thing or studying the right way. There are countless possible ways to study and I feel so happy that I have found one I can work with. There are still many improvements to be made, but I’m really happy with the progress.

Gotta run! Skjalg and I are off to the library for the day 🙂 Happy December 18th! 😉

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