Finals are coming up. How have we already reached this point?? As this is my second semester abroad, this round of finals means that my time here is almost up. Apart from the sadness from thinking about leaving, there’s also the pressure from finals and the bizarre way that they are dealt with over here. Last fall during the entire semester, each weekend there were parties nearly every weekend and sometimes during the week. Suddenly, about a month before finals began, everyone began hiding away in caves known as libraries. Apparently no one stresses about school until the last bit, then it’s everyone at once. You could feel the stress building up. I, however, only had language learning courses, which meant that my stress wasn’t nearly at the same level as everyone else. I only had to study a few days and I was fine. This semester is a bit different though. I have actual class – in French – and, therefore, I will be jumping on the studying bandwagon this time around.
I’ve realized how much I need to learn in such a little time, but I feel pretty good so far. I’ve spent the last three days hunkered down in a library, for which I of course rewarded myself with some snickers ice cream bars. I’ve run into a few snags in my studying abilities though. My focusing problems can’t be solved overnight, but I’ve tried to push through. Ironically, I got distracted the other day by a Facebook message from my mom telling me I should google self-tests for ADD. After spending a good hour researching and taking these tests, I finally got back to studying… but then I had to check Twitter and Facebook.
I have to admit that I miss the structure of finals at Ole Miss. There’s one week of pure stress, but then it’s over. Here, it’s not quite the same. Switzerland doesn’t set up an exact final exam schedule. Sometimes they set up a schedule for specific faculties, but the rest is pretty much up to the teacher. For me, my finals will be spread out from a month to a month and a half. I’ve already had the first half of one of my exams at the beginning of May, but the second half isn’t until the end of May. That exam then leads me into the rest of the exams, all fairly close together, except for my paper for a French literature class which is due in…..September. I think I’m going to get that one done a little early.
The exams here are also a bit strange in the fact that the entire grade rests on the final exam. There are no midterms or pop quizzes to cushion the blow. The students have one chance to get it right. There is of course a little extra pressure put on from learning a new topic in a different language, but hopefully that won’t be too big of a problem. Having talking to some of my European friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that I might be more worried about grades and exams than they are. Apparently in other countries, as an international student, they simply have to take an exam to prove they took the class, whereas whatever grade we get abroad, it transfers as that back to Ole Miss. I’ve entered the era of learning how to focus one studying while also enjoying the time I have left. I think I’ve mastered enjoying my time, so maybe now it’s time to start the studying…