Unpopular opinion: why I love exams

Here’s one more reason to appreciate finals.

This may seem a little counterintuitive, but I find exams to be the most relaxing time of the year.

I can almost hear university students spluttering in disbelief. How could I possibly think that the weeks of the year characterized by sleepless nights, gallons upon gallons of coffee, and frantic cramming are relaxing? Hear me out, people.

My rationale behind this is twofold. First off, I finally have enough time to dedicate to really mastering concepts. One of the biggest challenges I encounter with my academics is simply not having enough hours in the day to truly understand and appreciate everything in my courses. I simply rush from one week to the next, trying to get things done. For the most part, I end up doing pretty well, but I don’t really have time to organize my thoughts and develop my own ideas about what I have been learning in the classroom. With exams, since I am nose-deep in textbooks from sun up to sundown, I get to really drill concepts into my head and learn things thoroughly.

Secondly, I love the freedom that comes with exams. During the rest of the year I am frantically trying to juggle everything that I have going on, balancing my extracurricular commitments with classes, projects, quizzes, and a social life, but during exams all of that is put on hold. My calendar is blissfully blank, and I can spend my study breaks doing things I enjoy. I have a ready-made excuse to say no to any unwanted engagements or commitments that might come up (“Sorry, I can’t – exams!”) and instead, I get to made use of what little free time I have by watching Orange is the New Black, baking cookies with my boyfriend, or adventuring around Vancouver.

For example, this morning, I got up for an early morning breakfast with some fellow Vanier Residence Advisors. We left at 7:30 AM, just as the sun was starting to rise over Point Grey. We ate a delicious meal at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe on W 4th as the sun rose, watching the first Vancouver snowfall through the window. By 10 AM, I was back on campus, snuggled up in a coffee shop ready to get down to studying. It was a short break from the books, but one that re-energized me and will keep me going for the rest of the day.


I am telling you this to show that as stressful as the end of term can be, finals season does not have to be all doom and gloom. As with everything else in life, it’s just a matter of perspective.

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