It’s about a week off from your exams and you see more of your classmates on Anki during class – a tell-tale sign to start studying if you haven’t already. You try and reduce the time you spend on your usual hobbies, making less social outings with friends and declining or postponing events. It’s close to the end of the year and you feel the burnout creeping up on you. Those productivity applications that have been left in the recesses of your phone are opened once more for the term. Then, you suddenly open an old book that you had left on your desk five months ago for no apparent reason.
Three hours pass and now you’ve flipped through every page, going from having no idea as to where you left off previously to forming emotional bonds with even the most abstract side character. A whole rollercoaster of feelings later, with tired, sore eyes, you glance back at your laptop: Ankis untouched, memorandums as non-edited as the day you first mass downloaded them off Google Drive.
So why is it that we start (or restart) new hobbies so close to exam season? Sometimes it’s binging a whole season of a show of Netflix, or that crochet project that you hadn’t touched since last Winter, but somehow, and in some way, you’re beginning something new at the most suboptimal time.
This phenomenon has been a constant within my study seasons, even since high school. I would pledge to cease my default time-waster, be that social media, streaming websites or the most recent hobby I’ve picked up on – which I do abide by, to my credit – to then only adopt some random unfinished business I had abandoned eons ago. And the fact of the matter is, and the ultimate reason why I haven’t stopped doing this, is that doing whatever it is feels SO much better right before the exam than it is to start it after.
You know that feeling – the post-exam haze of “What the hell do I do now?” after the planned dinner or party with friends immediately after the exam. Despite having written an entire list of things to do, suddenly, none of those options seem as appealing anymore.
Now, I’m not saying to NOT study before exams – I’m definitely not here to give advice. But I found (after being at university for a grand total of almost three years now), that indulging in that recently acquired addiction is so much healthier than to resist the urge. I have somehow managed to balance this fine art of guilt-tripping myself so badly, fulfilling this abstract quota of procrastination, so that I can get a decent amount of studying in. I haven’t failed yet (touch wood), and am not planning to anytime soon.
I would even go as far as to say I get the most amount of things done during pre-exam season, just because of the sheer amount of time I spend focused on specific things. This time, I’ll make a list of things to do before my exams (which don’t only include study plans), and see how much I can take advantage of this odd second wind to get the most fulfillment out of the coming weeks.