Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Exams, stress and redefining the meaning of life

Hello everyone! I am Klea, an Albanian girl studying at the vibrant University of Utrecht. In addition, I am going to be the blogger for my masters programme, European law, until the end of the academic year so thank you for joining and hope you enjoy my posts! As an introduction, let me guide you to the starter pack of dealing with exams and paperwork in UU. Off we go!
It’s almost the end of January and by this time the exam period is freshly over, at least for the European Law master programme. Making a quick throwback, I can say without hesitating that it was one of the most stressful parts of my student life, and let me tell you that no matter what you do, at least some little stress and excitement will accompany every each of us during this period and that it doesn’t have to be something inherently bad.
Let me describe what a normal student faces in Utrecht. In a period you are expected to take two courses, with intense studying, tutoring, lectures, seminars, papers, presentations and nice little extra work included. Sometimes you will also have very close deadlines. Such, I had a paper deadline on Friday 13th (!!) 6pm and another the same day, but midnight. So you get the picture. I have the great ability to somehow stay organised and put my writing and my thoughts together always some time before the deadline, but my classmates were coming at the library and quietly saying that “Oh, I have 0 words”. Believe me, that is not a position you would want to be in, especially when your professors are strict! In addition to that, the exams were approaching. For my course on competition law, to somehow ease us from the time pressure of the written exam, the professors thought it was a good idea to propose a take home question. Quick explanation for the ones that maybe are not familiar with the concept: in such a thing, the professors publish a question on Blackboard and expect your answers back by the end of the day. Hence, you are free to do it at home, consult books, friends and everything that crosses your mind. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. Well, it was rather the opposite.
The case we had to deal with was obviously long and complicated, but I believe that the more time you are given to resolve something, the more you tend to be insecure and in the end your mind wanders around the most remote and unexplored places. “What if” questions arise one after the other and in the end of the day, you are rushing to meet the deadline. Mostly everyone in my class was experiencing the same thing and when finally it was over, we could only think about food and sleep. The worst thing was that the day after, we had another final exam. And again, after the weekend, the (finally) last one.
Therefore, studying in such a pace is not for the faint hearted, but in the end, everything falls into place. The feelings after exam period are mixed. I always smile when I encounter in daily life very simple products, such as bananas or salt, that were put in market by those companies, the story of which us EU competition law students know by heart. But also, that makes me hate bananas or salt for quite a period of time. Nevertheless, when you come home from the last exam, there is this strange unknown feeling that you’re suddenly free and don’t have to study anymore. So what to do now? Time to find a new meaning in life!


P.S: things are not as sombre as they might look. Soon you’ll get updates about the European young lawyers on their trip to Luxembourg and Brussels! (Trump voice) It’s gonna be a great trip. It’s gonna be absolutely fantastic. 

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