Living in the library
We've seen her grow from a fresher to a final year student. Now, as Lily embarks on her third year of university as a Politics, Philosophy and Economic student, will she be able to balance her partying with the pressure of exams and a dissertation?
Lily gets stuck into some serious revision as her final exams creep up on her.
My alarm goes off at 8am. I'm in the library by 9.30 and have a cup of tea at ten. I eat my tragically packed lunch at one, cave in with hunger at three and have a cake, followed by a Snickers at four. I begin to feel like I'm getting some work done at five and struggle on until nine. I accidentally go to the chippy on the way home, fall asleep, and begin again the next day.
This is what my life has been like for the past month. My only entertainment has been snatched ten minute breaks with my friends and a few hours dedicated to brain-melting in front of the TV when I get home. Finals suck - fact!
Studying is a gargantuan task and just when you think you've finished there are still all the books and articles that professors have suggested looking at. I could cover the walls of the entire library with extra reading lists and there would be plenty left to line the cave of self-pity I've retreated into.
It's difficult to know when to stop revising - there's no guidelines, no word count - so I haven't stop. At least with essays there's an elusive word limit so you can re-read, re-work and re-edit until five in the morning the day before it's due.
I stood in line for my economics exam with my notes crumpling in my sweaty grip. I'd been tinkering with my final essay the night before and fell asleep at my desk. If I have to make major changes or absorb big facts that late in the day I've probably already screwed up my chances. Running the risk of rewording a final conclusion could transform your shabby efforts into a first-class grade?
"After my final exam I'm planning to humiliate myself with a combination of alcohol, dancing and an increased lack of social skills accrued throughout my time in the library."
Of course not everyone is like this. I've been shamelessly stalking a boy from my seminar group who works in the same part of the library as me. He is a machine and I think I hate him. I've never managed to get to the library before him. And then, when I'm hitting my stride - eight hours, three snacks and fifteen Facebook-checks after arriving - he leaves the library looking content. Another days work for 'The Machine'.
I've never seen him on Facebook, his email, or even YouTube. His computer only displays serious looking text that he never takes his eyes off - not once! He doesn't go to the loo, chat, or even a snack. He only leaves his desk once a day, for a regimented half hour lunch break - a substantially shorter snack time than my own.
I once asked him where he'd found the past papers for a particular module and he looked so shocked that I'd only just looked them up three days before the exam. I was pretty impressed that I'd finished revising and was going to spend three days doing practise questions. 'The Machine' had finished his revision two weeks before and had been going over questions ever since. He makes me feel like pond life.
But the end is in sight - I've done two exams and two essays which are worth a third of my degree. It was scary to hand in so much of my assessment in one week. I now have one exam left, so the pace is less frantic from now on.
After my final exam I'm planning to humiliate myself with a combination of alcohol, dancing and an increased lack of social skills accrued throughout my time in the library. Who knows, maybe 'The Machine' will let his hair down and come out to play, but I doubt it. He'll probably be starting his six figure salary job, or working on his doctorate.