The End Of Exams - Our Right To Take A Break

07/07/2017 11:39

The end of our exams. The time we have dreamed about, which has always felt so far away, has finally arrived.

Endless past papers are a thing of the past and we have waved goodbye to teachers, lessons, elusive clear pencil cases, and best black biros. This summer, we have a right to take a break. Most importantly, in this limbo period between exams and results day, we must remember that we are so much more than an examination grade.

It is a rarity for days and months of your life to come down to just a few hours in a silent room. This stress-inducing situation has become part of the fabric of many teenagers' lives; the quiet footsteps of the invigilator and studying the clock in anticipation of the inevitable wrist cramp from three hours of scrawling inside the lines of your exam paper.

For many, post-exam rituals of burning well-thumbed exercise books or ripping down mind maps is extremely cathartic. Whilst this is of course, gratifying, there is something strange about wanting to destroy the work which has occupied so much of your time in the last year. Perhaps this is symptomatic of a new entitlement to rebellion; to be free from the time when a revision poster felt like the most important thing in our lives.

But despite all the nerves, the knot in your stomach, even the adrenalin - what happens during those three hours is not the most important part of your life. Passing exams is not the only thing that will define your future. Realising that there is more to your education than exam performance is the first step to success.

So as we rip apart the revision resources, let's not forget that what we did in the last year is so much more than taking an exam. Ultimately, we should be left with pride in what we have learnt. Our abilities, knowledge and skills cannot be captured on a mind map, a quiz or a deliberately concise cue card.

Throughout our years of our education, we have learnt more than we first knew about the world around us. We have revised and absorbed these nuggets of information from various curriculums. But we have also learnt how to work with, and understand other people, how to cope in stressful situations and how to take a break and relax. Most importantly, we know more now than we did a few years ago about what we want for our futures.

Next comes the post A Level summer of a lifetime. The initial adjustment period is strange; feeling as though every second must be productive, and then delighting in the luxury that after a day of seeing friends or working a part time job - we don't have to return to our desks for more revision.

But there is always the underlying sense of distant nerves for results day. Every relative's caring enquiry about "what are you doing in September, then?" is met with a list of exciting dreams quickly followed by "if I get the grades..." This can become frustrating, to say the least and we've got a whole summer of it ahead.
So, today, let's put an end to second-guessing and thinking about what 'could have happened' in that exam hall. Let's put an end to believing that all our future happiness is dependent on what we see on a certificate, on one particular day in August.

Of course, the grades we get in our exams are important. They will impact our futures. But the 'Post-Exam Summer' is a well-earned renaissance of all those other things which make us happy. We have time, now, to tick a few more things off the Bucket list, to remember why we enjoyed studying before the exam stress kicked in. We have time to learn something new and to do something different.

We have earned this break, so now, what is done is done, and let's leave worrying about results for results day.