Three days after ringing in 2016, I departed London and began my journey back to Exeter.
My suitcase was brimming with brand new socks, some stolen Quality Streets (soz Mum) and unfortunately, my revision notes were in there too. The worst part about heading back to Exeter so early, is that I was leaving behind home friends who to this day, still haven’t started back at university. Compare that with my friends who travelled back to Exeter the day after Boxing Day and on New Year’s Eve respectively.
January exams are no joke, especially for those in second and third year, so why does the University hold them at such a laughably early time in the month? I am actually one of the lucky ones, in that this was the ﬁrst time I have had a January exam in my university career. I watched in ﬁrst year as my ﬂatmates came back to Exe a week before me and put up with all the ‘is your degree even real?’ jokes in second year, when the same thing happened again. To be honest, I thought they were all exaggerating about how tough January exams are – students are given three weeks to revise, so surely that’s enough?
However, don’t worry serial Jan exam takers, I have very much seen the error of my ways. This is because you don’t actually get three weeks to study. Of course, in literal terms you do. But the University fails to account for the fact that it’s CHRISTMAS.
Whether you’re religious or not, the festive period is great for spending time with your family and friends and it is kind of impossible to escape from. I’m an atheist myself, yet I can still enjoy a mince pie and get down to some Silent Night (one thing I’ll give Christianity is it has some banging tunes on its roster).
When you’re spending your days around family and friends who want to hang out, decorate the tree, go shopping and watch ﬁlms, revision falls down you priority list pretty quickly. While I struggled to motivate myself to revise for the one exam I had, some of my friends had to sit three or four exams, with a few unlucky souls sitting two in one day. Pressure on university students is so much higher than we are given credit for and beginning January exams just ten days into the calendar year is just another source of stress and anxiety. It also doesn’t help when said exams are then littered with mistakes.
The truth is that January exams will always be more diﬃcult than their summer counterparts, simply because they come right after Christmas and as we are given signiﬁ cantly less time to revise for them. However, if we had an extra week to revise after the New Year, I think students would be a lot more comfortable about having to dodge beaming SABBs in mobile phone costumes as they make their way up to the Great Hall. As we are often reminded by our well-meaning parents, exams are not the be all and end all. Yet, when you are paying nine grand a year and need a certain grade to secure that elusive grad job, it would be nice if they started a week later.