After over a month of studying for about 8-12 hours a day, I am finally finished with my exams and thus finally finished with my junior year of university. Wow. Where has time gone??
My brain is basically dead and I have never looked forward to a break so much in my life. While LSE was a great year, it was incredibly challenging, especially the exams!! Unlike American universities, where finals usually span a week or maybe two weeks, LSE finals can take place anywhere from the second week of May to the very end of June. Luckily, mine were decently placed between 27 May and 8 June, so I had a lot of time beforehand to prepare and a decent amount of time in between most of my exams to review what I needed to know. However, the exams are so intense and challenging that we definitely need the long period to revise for them!
At LSE, you are examined on content from the whole year since (at least for the regular students) essays, presentations and participation don’t count towards your grade. For normal students, the exam is 100% of their grade. For us, it’s just 50%. And we sit the same exams as the regular students so they don’t go easy on us at all! Did I mention we have to cite sources as well? So basically like a timed research paper for 3 essays that you don’t know about beforehand. Sounds fun right? Quite the experience!
So because of all of this, I thought I’d mention the things that helped me survive this incredibly challenging month. Btw, there was no way I could make it through exams without getting injured, so I’m writing this post with a splint because I’ve sprained my thumb (on my left hand yay!), which makes typing incredibly challenging. By tripping. Just adding on to the list of embarrassing injuries!
One last look at LSE
Spotify saved my life this examination period. I needed enough music to get me through a rough day of studying without being repetitive. I have two main playlists on Spotify, my movie score one and the other one I like to call my hipster one, filled with Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine and Beirut, amongst many others. The playlists kept me occupied and interested (and awake) without making me really tired of listening to the same music day after day. Such a luxury!
This definitely wasn’t the best discovery health-wise, but thank god I found out that M&S sells macarons. They’re absolutely delicious and worked as great motivation for when I was feeling ridiculously unmotivated. Plus they aren’t common in Florida so I might as well have as many as possible before I go home, right?
British period dramas on Netflix
So I’ve always loved period dramas, but on study breaks, I fell in love with them, even more, thanks to Netflix. So if you like shows or movies like Downton Abbey, The King’s Speech, or The Imitation Game, check out The Bletchley Circle, The Land Girls, Mr. Selfridge, Call the Midwife, and The Paradise. Also, try Whitechapel if you like crime thrillers! Just don’t watch it alone at night like I did or you’ll be scared and/or have bad nightmares.
You already know I’m obsessed with tea and this month I got to drinking tea to procrastinate. After all, you can’t write while drinking a hot cup of tea, right?
Solo dance parties
During a full day of revising, I can get a bit antsy. So, I took to having some solo dance parties to some of my more upbeat songs to get rid of excess energy and free up some mental space and calm myself down. Very cathartic and a fun way to exercise!
During May, I blogged almost every day, and that definitely helped keep my stress levels low. While I missed a few days right around when my exams took place and I haven’t written in several days, I have been planning new posts and new ideas and brainstorming a new blog name for when I return home! A perfect instance of productive procrastination :)
Last Saturday, Siobhan and I grabbed some Mexican food and then decided to walk along the Thames back home. The tide was incredibly low, making a little beach below the sea wall, so we walked from Gabriel’s Wharf back to the Tate Modern on the stones and sand. It was really peaceful and nice to get a different walk back and collect some stones from the Thames. I also went to the used/antique bookstore under Waterloo Bridge and got an antique print of The Strand and an antique map of England and Wales, both from the 1800s. So cool!
Natural Calm Water
When I go through bad bouts of anxiety, usually triggered by extreme stress this past month, I add this powder to my water. It tastes delicious and the magnesium and calcium help calm you down. I was skeptical at first, but it’s amazing how much it helps! And how quickly it helps! I would add it to my water bottles before each of my exams and it would definitely help keep me calm and relax me. If you have anxiety, I definitely recommend trying it out!!
It feels great writing about what helped me get through a stressful time and I hope some of these things help you if you ever have an extremely intense couple of weeks!