4.25 pm. Five minutes to go. An entire month’s worth of work boils down to how many words I can scribble in the final few moments of this exam. My primary foes: two hours and twenty-five minutes worth of hand-cramp and a semi-sleepless night.
4.30 pm. Success. Relief. Joy.
The best part of any exam period has got to be the post-exam celebration. It is a unique phenomenon, because it isn’t what you do, but instead what you don’t (have to) do which makes it soul-satisfying. I was determined to have as carefree and unstructured an evening as possible.
Keeping with post-exam protocol, the bulk of our 89-strong MSc Neuroscience class cheerfully flocked to our local pub (right outside Denmark Hill station). Exam stress was dissolved instantly by warm mulled wine, Christmas cheer and stories of study-leave shenanigans.
The lazy lull was a stark contrast to the rigour of exam preparation. The last thirty mornings had been spent in libraries; either the swish new WEC or the beautiful, dark-wooded Will’s. Evenings consisted of stress-busting sessions at the university gym, and nights promised ever-delicious Tesco ready meals.
I don’t know whether it was the freedom or the mulled wine talking, but London was suddenly buzzing. A spontaneous joyride on my cycle (the only way to travel) found me on the streets of the city centre. Oxford Street was magical; the red and green of Christmas lights, the hustle and bustle of shoppers and the crisp air hitting my face made me feel alive. My journey ended at Moonraker Point, the swanky (at least for student standards!) KCL halls housing the majority of my MSc friends. What began as a small gathering quickly evolved into a flat party. The music, dancing and merriment lasted until the wee hours of the morning; the icing on the cake of a much needed carefree, mind-free evening.
My flight back home takes off at 9 in the morning. Sleepless nights are so much more fun for the free.