Post-Exam Feelings

Immediately after your last exam, there’s a multitude of feelings that you can expect to emerge. Anxiety over whether you’ll achieve the results you desire, freedom from revision, pride at getting through exam season, excitement at the prospect of celebrating with friends. For me, this rush of emotion lasts for a few days, or at least, as long as the constant activities and socialisation last. After this, I become absolutely terrified at the prospect of a summer that lasts for months.

As someone who thrives on being busy, on having deadlines and goals to achieve, the idea of 4 months of nothing is scary. I feel unable to set myself deadlines and goals as I’m unlikely to stick to them, and they also don’t feel ‘real’ – there is no consequence to not completing it, and I (rightly or wrongly) feel like it’s a waste of time as I won’t have anything to show for it, whether or not I actually will have something to show for it. To stave off this feeling, I try to find a job, or make sure I’m around friends as much as possible, because for some reason, doing nothing with other people feels worthwhile, while doing nothing alone feels like a waste of time. Friends, of course, offer all kinds of suggestions as to what I can do with my time: read, write, get better at ukulele, continue learning German, or French, or Russian, or Spanish, and all of these suggestions are genuinely good ones but… they just don’t feel like I’m not wasting my time doing nothing. I think it’s very hard for me to feel like I’m spending my time well if I’m not out, or revising or doing other compulsory work towards my degree.

Last summer I had this exact feeling, but with a weekend job and the prospect of a week-long holiday and another mini-break in the South of England, I felt a lot more positive about the time passing quickly, but this year, despite having several events lined up, they all seem much shorter – plans range from concert and theatre performances to a 4 day breaks, and the summer seems much longer than it ever has before (which is likely because it is). There are a lot of things I want to do over the summer, namely the list of suggestions provided to me by my friends, but I don’t see how I can focus on those without feeling a bit hopeless and lost. I’ve tried looking for jobs, but for a job I would be passionate about, it seems I would have to be in the London area, which I am not, and to get a job locally I would either have to work weekends/evenings when I would have access to a car, or work in the city and catch a bus in every day, which is obviously costly and it’d depend on pay and hours worked as to whether it was worth catching the bus at all.

If you’re feeling like this at all, know that you’re not alone, and try to line up things to look forward to over your summer and, of course, if these feelings become overwhelming, or you feel more than just a bit hopeless, speak to a doctor or medical professional who can help you to work through these feelings.

For some people, the thought of 4 months with next to no obligations is the best thing in the world, but for me it’s just scary, and I know I’m not the only one out there. If you’re in a situation where you can afford to find some classes to take to learn a new skill, go for it! If not, use websites to teach yourself. Maybe try cooking new meals, or do some gardening if you’re able, or make redecorating your room a project, or start a blog!


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