At this point we've had enough of the booksAbhi Sharma

If you’re reading this, I have already started my exams. I have already passed through most of the dark, depressing revision period and may even currently be sitting in a Medieval Literature exam, for which I am woefully underprepared. (Spare a thought.)

My set text Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare’s worst plays, is sitting next to me at my desk; on top of the Amazon Prime packaging it came in, with the spine unfortunately uncracked beyond Act One. The events, politics and works of the Renaissance period remain mostly a mystery to me and only recently did I realise there is in fact only one ‘h’ in Chaucer.

Through it all Cambridge still looks nice Holly Platt-Higgins

But, there comes a time before any exam when you realise you have done all you can do, the clock has run out and you just have to hope for the best; let the chips fall where they may. Regrettably, the chips in my life, seem to fall in a manner resembling those drenched in acidic ketchup, dropped by drunk girls, left lying on the floor next to fag-butts outside the Van of Life.

Although, in these dark final hours, as I write this column rather than revise any relevant material, I realise that Exam Term hasn’t actually been that horrible. Is that because, as Pete (the maintenance guy) always says, “whenever I see you, you’re never doing any bloody work girl”? Perhaps. But I do think the drudgery of revision has made me appreciate the little points of light in my day-to-day life. Like tracking the growth of my ‘grow-a-boyfriend’, whom my best friend and I have christened Jesus. We have been growing Jesus in a tupperware in our kitchen.

While a lot of joy this week has come from the royal wedding, in which I claimed to have no interest and then engaged massively in, those not of Duke and Duchess status have still given me reason to smile this week, despite the dire straits I appear now to be in…

Things to remember this week:

  • I was in a taxi – yes fine, I got a taxi from Sainsbury’s to college because I couldn’t carry my shopping and Churchill is pretty far away, whatever, sue me – with my earphones in but no music playing (I always have them in, even if I’m not listening to anything because I don’t really want people to talk to me). So I ended up overhearing the driver’s conversation. I think it was a wife or a girlfriend, but she called and asked, “what time are you coming home?” to which he replied, “soon, why?” and then she said, “I miss you.”

Maybe you’re not in a relationship, you don’t have a wife or a girlfriend or even your own house for one to be waiting in. But, being at uni, there’s someone out there who misses you for 28 weeks of the year – parents, siblings, friends. While exams seem to engulf us and often people don’t even leave their rooms, your home life still exists even if it feels far from here. Send a text, check in, ring your mum, ask how the dog is. Contrary to popular belief the world does not revolve around Tripos so even in the final build up, don’t lose sight of what actually matters.

  • Disclaimer: the next part isn’t technically something I overheard in town, but something my bedder said to me. Carol, over the last two years, has become one of my favourite people in the whole of Cambridge. She is always there to encourage me when I haven’t done an essay, make me feel better on a hungover day and generally just offer pearls of wisdom. I hadn’t managed to achieve anything by midday on Thursday when I bumped into Carol in the kitchen. When I voiced some concern about the lack of productivity in my day she smiled at me and said “Oh I wouldn’t worry, Holly, Thursday is the new Friday anyway.”

I wasn’t sure that anyone actually said this, I thought it might just be one of those things Carol says, like how, when it’s raining, she says she feels ‘curly.’ But I googled it and apparently, according to The New York Times, Thursday became the new Friday way-back-when in 2005. So, for all of you who didn’t know, and have, like me, been missing out for the last 13 years, get excited. Because, if Thursday is the new Friday, Friday must be the new Saturday, which means it’s three-day weekends from here on out; courtesy of my girl Carol.

  • I went into a jewellery shop to look for a friend’s 21st present and there was an old man examining a necklace, as a potential gift for his wife Jean for their anniversary. He was clearly very unsure about the purchase. The shop assistant suggested he buy it and they could exchange it later if she doesn’t like it, he smiled and said in that very soft, polite way that older people do, “Oh no no no; she would just keep it and never wear it, too afraid to say she didn’t like it.”


Mountain View

Outlasting the stress with fights, drinks and eggs

I’m not sure why I can suggest this is particularly relevant to you or your Exam Term stress, but it was very sweet. I felt quite comforted by the thought that one day, I will be old and grey and it won’t matter that I don’t know anything about the textual history of Cymbeline and maybe someone will love me enough to know I would never admit that I didn’t like a present I’d been given.

So, things to remember this week: you are missed, and you should remember the people who helped you get here while you are here; since 2005 the weekend has actually been three days long, we just never got updated, so enjoy an extra 24 hours of leeway on that revision schedule; and, one day, you will be old and you won’t be worried about a single thing you’re worried about today.

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