I graduated two years ago and I don’t miss the university.
I know that for many it is a wonderful, unforgettable experience, even the most beautiful of their life. I am happy for them, but just hearing the word “session” I naturally give myself a pinch to confirm that that experience is now a thing of the past and every time I breathe a sigh of relief. I express all my sincere solidarity with those in the exam session because, let’s face it, exams suck. The best part of taking an exam is passing it, signing it, and wishing everyone a good day, escaping (at least for that day) from a climate of hysteria and paranoia that everything is less than pleasant.
Why all this anxiety about an exam? On paper it seems simple: if it doesn’t pass, you give it back, you don’t die. But in fact, giving an exam is an opportunity to trigger a whole series of small mini-psychoses that are activated intermittently, with more or less high degrees of seriousness, depending on the person and his ability to self-control. Never been one of those who lock themselves up before an exam. Let’s call it a dowry? Blow your ass? I have always done my best, and if I did not arrive one hundred percent prepared, despite some missing paragraph or book I tried my luck, keeping in mind that there was very little to do now. But it’s personal: I know people who completely disappear from circulation before an examination. Not received, fixed on the book from morning until late at night. It becomes a matter of life and death. There are those who are always like this, and those who vary according to the period (as the graduation discussion approaches, it usually increases because the desire to finish rises too).
While resigning myself to fate and forgotten chapters, on the day of the exam I could not escape that anguish that always arrives on time and identical to the previous time. That anguish feeds itself in all the hours before the moment: perhaps the only positive side of home exams is not standing in line to wait for your turn. Wait for your name to be mentioned, while other equally distressed people repeat, read, cry, tell more or less unpleasant anecdotes, remind you of the chapters you have skipped and come up with texts you were not even aware of.
Like yawns, anguish is contagious. There are people who contaminate you with words and information that you could easily do without, aimed only at sending you into a panic. What if this is not the case? And that time you read that chapter thirty minutes before your turn, and then he asked you, and you saved yourself in the corner? Because you never know, every exam is a leap of faith. The exam itself is usually quick and painless, a traumatic worst-case experience, but often never as frightening and irreparable as you imagine. To send us on tilt is the possibility of a failure, not knowing what will happen and the fact of not having it under control because it depends on the moves of the teacher or the assistant on duty. The thought of being judged and evaluated unnerves us, and our greatest value, university but even more personal, seems to be determined exclusively on a scale ranging from 18 to 30. That number is just a number: “ah, that’s enough for me 18 and I’m going home », you say each time more convinced than the previous one. But when the time comes for the verdict, you start gasping and losing your salivation again: what will happen this time? What will he have decided? Better or worse than expected?
Anxiety is inevitable because we don’t know, we foresee a thousand possible scenarios, and almost all of them remain alone in our heads. Every hypothesis of that moment, even imagined, shakes us. One aspect that has almost always helped me is to remind me that the exam session is nothing more than a conversation between two people: whether they have been twenty-four hours of continuous study or two hours a day plodded along (for myself, always the second), we might as well collect what I have learned and articulate it keeping in mind that we are basically insignificant dots in the universe, and sooner or later we will all die *. Both me and the professor and the assistant. Tragic? I would say realistic, or at least an opportunity to reduce that vortex of paranoia into which we fall every sacrosanct time and put it into perspective. Ineluctability of our existence apart, There really isn’t a way to make that kind of anguish go away completely, but maybe we can control it.
Accept it, learn to recognize it, and every time it comes back (because it will, it always comes back) and sits next to us, surprising us less and less.