2019 Spring Taylor Berkoski Temple Exchange UEA United Kingdom

Finals Culture Abroad: Not Any Less Stressful Than In The States

‘Tis the season! And obviously I do not mean the season when you sip hot chocolate, decorate a Christmas tree, and are always in a holly jolly mood. It is a bit contrary to the holiday season, in fact, and if you’re a college student reading this post, you know exactly what I’m talking about by now. It’s finals season, baby.

I must, however, correct the slang that I have just used. If you’re an American, you refer to this stress-inducing, brain-draining, and time-consuming process as “finals.” However, as I have learned from the weird looks I received when I referred to this time as “finals,” — the Brits refer to the end-of-the-year study cram as “revision.”

Different names, yes, but worry not — both experiences deliver equal amounts of stress. In fact, the seemingly less daunting “revision” may even be more strenuous. Back at TU, at least I had my beautiful attendance to boost my grade a bit if I choked during my final exam or paper, but UEA doesn’t fly like that. Participation and attendance don’t mean anything. And, as explained in a previous post, we don’t have any homework assignments or quizzes or any of those little check-ins that American unis love so much. And at first, I thought that sounded FANTASTIC.

But now, here I am, with three weeks left here at UEA, and three term papers that are staring me down in a pile on my desk. We are all you got. That’s right, 100% of my grades from all three of my courses all depend on the final papers I will be handing in throughout May. And I could say I got this, and there’s no need to worry… but I’m terrified.

However, what I am lucky to have is the amazing support that UEA offers for its students. They have tutors assigned for every student, give an ample amount of time for you to work on revising (this week is the last week of class, so you have about two free weeks of time, as opposed to Temple’s three study days), and lastly (one of the most important factors during the horrifying time that is finals week), I’m not alone. Every other student is with me through the revision period. When I’m staying at the library, trying to keep my eyes open at 2am, there’s someone next to me sipping on their fifth cup of coffee. When I’m in the kitchen about six times a day to stress eat after planning out a 10-page research paper, my roommates are popping in and asking if I want to share a pizza. And when I’m messaging my friends, doubting myself, saying “I don’t know if I can pull this off,” they’re messaging within seconds saying: “You’re amazing. You got this!”

And with all of that, I am able to breathe a bit easier, even though this is one of the hardest weeks of the term. But then I think again (and always) that I’m so happy and lucky to be spending it here abroad in England. Even if the terrible reality of revising exists at this moment in time, at least I’m revising in this amazing, beautiful country!

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