Awful, isn’t it? Exam term makes monsters of us allTomos Davies for Varsity

Just like that, exam term has rolled around again. Time flies when you’re spending most of it in your college bar going ”Tragedy paper? What tragedy paper? That’s ages away!”. Like it or not (and believe me, I do not like this one bit), soon you’ll be sitting doing some timed exams, typing frantically away at your computer. Unless you’re an English finalist, and then you’ll be handwriting everything like a GCSE student. Computers have not yet quite made it into the faculty, unfortunately.

Awful, isn’t it? Exam term makes monsters of us all. Suddenly you start to feel violent urges towards your coursemate who swears that he isn’t revising and is sooooooo screwed for these exams, even though you saw the lying bastard putting in the hours in the college library into the small hours of the morning. The library becomes your second home, and you’ll find yourself making enemies with the random MPhil student who always takes your spot in the morning, with each of you starting to get to the library earlier and earlier until one day, when you wake up at 5am, you realise that this is really rather silly behaviour from someone who has three exams, and one of them is unseen anyway.

“You’ll find yourself making enemies with the random MPhil student who always takes your spot in the morning”

Venturing away from trying to explode the random who sits next to you and (uses a light-up keyboard, the knob) with your mind, you can try and settle down in a faculty library. Which is easier said than done, seeing as Sidge becomes especially rammed in early May.

The Seeley Library is an especially hellish spot in the summer months because it basically functions as a massive greenhouse. This heat is coupled with the fact that most male HisPol students seem to be allergic to wearing deodorant. Good luck trying to write a mock exam in timed conditions with onion-pits next to you BO-ing all over the place and bouncing his leg like he’s just discovered how knees work. You might be foolish enough to believe that you’ll fare better in the Divinity library, but it’s just as inclined to be just as full of utter stinkers as the Seeley. At least you can have an anxiety-and-caffeine-fuelled dump in peace in the Divinity library without having to schlep off underground to a toilet that looks like a crack den.

The other Sidge libraries aren’t much better. The English faculty may be a lovely warm spot in the bleak midwinter, but in the summer it basically functions as a giant microwave. At least most Englings wear deodorant – if they even make it to a library to begin with. The Squire is strictly off-limits due to its rancid vibes and just having too many bloody steps. You could try Downing Site or New Museums, but in my three years I’ve been too old and too damn lazy to bother going, so they avoid my slagging-off. For now.

“Weirdly, in this great casserole of stress, there’s community to be found”

So libraries are unbearable, everyone around you is the worst person in the world possibly ever, and you can feel yourself becoming more of an insufferable bellend every day. Are there any positives to exam term? Well, first of all, it ends. But second of all, the weather is nice – this is your sign to touch some grass once in a while. I recommend college gardens, the botanical gardens, castle mound, or Grantchester for that. And really, when you really think about it, it’s never really that deep; if you are an English student, no matter what grade you get, you will be unemployed unless you jumped ship last summer and did some evil consulting job. And that’s ok. And weirdly, in this great casserole of stress, there’s community to be found – even if it is just you and a friend hysterically crying and sharing a cig in the college smoking area at 1am.


Mountain View

Martha’s Mindful Madness: shopaholism, turntablism, and Poet’s Corner

So yes, exam term has rolled around again. Libraries are boiling hot BO hovels. Your coursemate is a lying twit. Life is hard and stressful and you don’t know how a single 1000-word sheet of notes is going to provide you with any insight into the great tragedians from the past 2000ish years. But sometimes it’s worth taking a breather, touching some grass, and reminding yourself that it’s ok to enjoy Easter term in its own weird way.