As another January exam season comes to a close, I feel like it’s important to address an issue that is sometimes neglected, and that is ‘dealing with disappointment’. One of the absolute worst feelings in the world is coming out of exam that you were hoping/expecting or needed to go well, and feeling like it couldn’t’ve gone worse. We’ve all been there, whether it be GCSEs, SAT’s or A Levels, and it’s a horrible, horrible feeling. Furthermore, I feel like this feeling is a million times worse at uni, as with every passing year of education the exams get more and more stressful, important and, of course, harder.
I recently had this exact feeling of an exam going horrendously badly, when I really needed it to go exceptionally well. To make matters worse, as I am in my third and final year at University, every exam has a huge affect on the degree classification I leave here with. I came out of the exam feeling a wide range of emotions, including; stressed from little sleep, angry at the module leader for writing a horrible exam, angry at myself for not knowing the answers, upset at the possibility of failing, embarrassed at how hard I found the exam and of course, disappointed. Disappointed in me, the exam, my revision, my lecturer, my course… So many aspects.
Exam time is a very intense and stressful time at uni; a two week exam period can really take its toll. If your waking up early everyday, spending hours in the library, hunched over a textbook and trying to fight the fact that you haven’t had a good night sleep since before Christmas, it’s not surprising that your emotions are going to be heightened. But personally, I feel like that should be embraced. If you have a bad exam; scream, cry, shout, laugh, run away, take a break, or throw yourself back in. These varying reactions are normal, and sometimes necessary to get passed the initial disappointment. However, that’s the main point here ‘getting passed it’.
No matter your reaction to a bad exam, it’s important that it doesn’t affect you too deeply. For me, I find that 10 minutes of anger and 10 minutes of crying after a bad exam is exactly what I need to get it out of my system. For others it’s having a moan about the exam with your friends over a cup of coffee. Whatever your ‘process’ is, find it and stick to it. Find something that mentally, physically and emotionally helps you to move passed the disappointment and onto the next stage of your plan.
A bad exam can feel like the end of the world, but trust me; whether you fail the exam, scrape a pass, or smash out a first against all odds, the world will still be spinning at the exact same rate tomorrow. University and exam results can feel so overwhelming important, but there are a million other things in this world that define you. So, keep our head up and keep working hard, but know when it’s time to seek help, take a break, and read a good blog post.