Exam results at university don’t seem to be anticipated with the same levels of sheer terror that they were at sixth form and school. As Freshers, as long as we attain 40% on our exams (the results of which are currently in the process of being released – some already know, some, like myself, are still waiting) then we’re fine; unless, of course, we’re scholarship or international students, on whom the pressure, as with the minimum pass grade, seems to be considerably higher.
I think most students in first year are fairly confident we can scrape the 40% required to progress to next year’s study, and so the pressure isn’t really on in terms of receiving back marked work or the results of tests, and I’m not sure this is a good thing. Personally, I work much better under pressure, and the genuine, near-hysterical exam stress I usually experience has always ensured that I’ve worked hard for exams. Of course, stress isn’t a good thing, but I feel like maybe a bit more emphasis should be placed on not just passing, but passing well. After all, next year pass grades will be higher, work will be harder, and our marks will actually count towards our degrees. I certainly don’t feel at all ready for that given the pace of this year so far (ask me again in June if I still want work to be harder. Clue: I won’t).
Not only this, but another reason I feel like more importance should be placed on the results of these exams? Something to do. The term between Christmas and Spring is always the longest, and at some point in the last few weeks things have just kind of… run out of steam. The endless cycle of society socials, lectures and nights out is amazing, and as students we should all be grateful that we have a few years that largely consist of learning and having a lot of fun, but it does feel like, as Winter needs Christmas, this longest term needs some kind of milestone or event to break things up and shake us out of our routines. I know quite a few fellow Freshers are beginning to feel the monotony. Perhaps if we placed a larger emphasis on collecting and celebrating (or commiserating) our exam results would help to break this up, or even make us all feel a bit better about our own work; after all, even fairly unimportant exams are still an achievement, and achievements should be rewarded, if only by ourselves. It’s the perfect two-birds-one-stone solution: boost grades, end boredom.
Having said that, at the end of the month, Varsity is coming up, which will be a massive event for lots of students here at Swansea, and provide the necessary mid-term distraction for many of us – however, for Freshers, I’m not sure it holds the same appeal as it does for older students. Most of us haven’t really been here long enough to feel the kind of University pride getting really worked up about supporting Swansea in these events requires – most Freshers I know didn’t even bother trying to get tickets. So, although the work will be harder, one reason I’m looking forward to next year is how much better the sporting events will be: we’ll all feel properly part of Swansea in a way I’m sure some Freshers really don’t yet.
As it is, I’m going to celebrate my exam results as if they’re A-levels all over again, and I encourage all of my fellow freshers to do the same – after all, we may not have that many excuses to celebrate once the real work begins!