A Finals Diary, part 1: Spring!

My finals are steadily approaching. With 68 days left (yes, I counted) until they finish I have just about managed this week to get down to some serious revision. I also managed to complete a submit-able (well…) draft of my thesis, and completed the appendices (a coin catalogue and corresponding plates).

For many weeks my finals have loomed in the distance somewhat threateningly, offering the prospect of dashing my future plans, reducing me to a puddle of stress and anxiety, and potentially throwing the rest of my life into chaos. That was something I wanted to avoid, a repeat of the mess that forced me to take a year out when I sat my first set of Oxford exams. “Honour moderations”, a set of 10 3-hour exams packed into a tight two week schedule, just about managed to be completed without incident the second time round (aside from a rogue fire alarm during my Homer exam).

This time they will be spread over three weeks, which offers a bit more breathing space, and 3 of my 10 exams will only be 1.5 hours long. Fortunately I will not have to sit too many back to back on the same day, although some of my friends who chose different options have not been so lucky. Thus far I have mainly been focusing on the papers for which I don’t already have decent revision notes (a quirk of the Oxford system are termly “collections”, mock exams held ostensibly to monitor your progress, and more often to maintain the illusion of “rigour”).

Today I went for a long walk in Port Meadow, a large green space near to my flat used for grazing horses and other animals.

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It is satisfying to take a day off when you have done something concrete to earn it, and I even ventured as far as to order a pint in the pub at the end of my walk and smoke two cigarettes while basking in the sun. Although spring starts in March, it has only really started to seem like it in the last few weeks. This has meant, among other things, that my seasonal depression has started to lift and I am starting to feel more like a human being again, calmer and motivated and even optimistic. Sixty-eight days – it’s just a countdown, now, isn’t it?

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