Exam season always feels like a sort of purgatory, between what we’ve been working for and what we’re hoping to achieve. The days leading up to the exams themselves turn into a listless monotony, that I’m forced to push myself through. While the overall aim is to be productive, something I wouldn’t say I’m failing at, my mind feels like sludge. I can’t help but find myself to be unthinking, almost robotic in my daily machinations.
It’s not that I haven’t allowed myself much introspection lately, but such is the curse of the med student, that when we do finally decide to get studying, it leaves little room for much else (thoughts and social engagement likewise). Rather, I have these little moments of self awareness. It’s like realisation in a dream that this is not, in fact, reality. The opposite would be more accurate, I suppose.
At 12.45 pm, lifting my third cup of tea of the day to my lips, I shuffle the pages before me and suppress another yawn. Half submerged in a blanket (I study in bed, yes, a terrible habit), I pause. Since the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan, I’ve been feeling (hallucinating, rather) the ground shaking at odd moments, a paranoia my loved ones have chalked up to anxiety, which I grudgingly agree to (it feels so real!). How can it not be strange and alarming to me that anxiety can manifest in such a way, when I’m not actually anxious (yet)?
In the evening, watching the sky change colour, I refresh my Facebook feed yet again, hopefully. It’s 17.15 pm as I listen to the azaans, some in tandem, other echoing each other. I happen to be in search of a date sheet; an as of yet unfulfilled promise by the University of the Punjab (or PU). This annual proverbial tug of war, between our queries and their vague responses, is something we’ve become used to. It makes us tense, and lull us into a false sense of security in alternations. The exams that we’re so fervently preparing for are apparently fast approaching, though without a deadline, we’re left working on estimations and guesses. Frustrated, I bat closed the window I’d left open, despite the cold. What is is about the chill that keeps you in your toes, yet turns you into a lethargic fool?
It’s 3.30 am and I’m scraping the bottom of a jar of peanut butter with pieces of biscuit that may or may not be stale, though at the speed I’m shovelling them into my mouth, this doesn’t seem to matter anyway. I love this time of night.
Despite how much I have or haven’t studied, at this hour I can close up shop; that is to say, chuck my books aside and just give up. I’m aware that doesn’t sound very motivational, but hear me out. There is solace in the fact that to stop before I reach my breaking point is a choice that is solely mine. And to start again, requires no motivation except my own.
Till then, I get to escape in sleep; that elusive mistress, adored by many yet obtained by fewer. The impertinent voice in the back of my head attempts to reel off all I have yet to do, but I swat it away as I bury myself under the covers.
Tomorrow’s a new day, after all. I’ll worry about it when it comes.
I just realised I wrote a blog post about two years ago, which is quite similar to this one! I suppose exam season feels the same every year.