Fun times, as always, where I commit to writing every day and then forget to write for a bit because of other pressing commitments – like exams.
Our exams start at 2pm, and we need to be seated in our hall any time between 1.50 and 2, and I usually head in around a cool 1.56pm. It gives me just enough time to set up the way I want, say a small prayer, drink a sip of water, and then begin my palms for the terrifying 2 hours that lay ahead. But, I’ve been going early to my exam hall these days.
Why, you ask? (or you’re forced to read about?)
Well, mostly because I’m giving up on my studying quicker. I’ve learned that my brain has capacity and at some point, I’ve done all the studying I could do. That extra minute of revision isn’t going to help unless it’s crucial. I usually shut my books by 1.40pm and joke with my roommate for 10 minutes. That really gets us going. Especially on days like today, where we laughed about how tragic it would be if we were faced with a paper that made us feel like Mr. Bean taking an exam. (and, it was. A comforting thought in times of trouble.) We then said some Aal Izz Well thing, motivated each other, and breathed huge sighs of relief. In 2 hours, we said, we’d be looking forward to the weekend.
The other reasons are largely social. I have a couple of exam buddies. These aren’t people I usually hang out with, but we end up entering the exam hall at the same time. Every single exam. And then there’s a bit of chatter about what the date is and other mundane details. But that really calms me down before an exam, which is super fun.
Also, going early means more time to go pee before writing an exam. Without the stress of “Oh no what I have a really long leak will I make it to the exam hall from my hostel room without running.” That peace of mind is necessary. Plus, I drink too much water during exams. I go through about 1 litre in those 2 hours, and maybe 3/4 litres a day, at minimum. (Maybe more.) So peeing is essential.
The last bit, is my favourite.
Getting to an exam early means more time to observe things. There’s this wonder about finding out who your invigilator is. Will it be easy for students around you to cheat? Is this a new faculty whose name you do not know? Are they aware that you can only go to the washroom once in the next 120 minutes, or will you be able to sneak out twice (more to give your hands a break than to pee, but still)? Is this a professor who has taught you before, or is it someone who is going to scrutinize your ID card as if your name cannot possibly be Tejas Rao?
The possibilities are endless.
Then there’s the opportunity to observe people’s pre-exam rituals and facial expressions: that familiar feeling of dread and fear which materializes in laughter, the comfort of watching someone enter, catch your glance, and realize you’re both in the same boat of panic-relief. To see someone ask for a pen before an exam, because they’ve forgotten stationery, or hand in their mobiles – which they’ve carried in accidentally.
It puts my mind to ease.
There’s something else apart from the Law to concentrate on for a bit, and that’s nice. Especially before the two hours in which all my brain thinks about are “How badly do you need to pee right now?” and “How many pages does this booklet have left?”