Single-minded

Sitting in the cafeteria yet again, waiting for the first exam, intelligent systems, today at 11 a.m. Or thereabouts, since we have been told that the eximation right before ours might take longer, and then there will be the usual bureaucratic procedures. So realistically we are probably looking at a start 11:30 or later. Which is a mess, because you can’t really eat lunch before the exam, and you definitely can’t it eat during the exam, so low blood sugar is virtually certain. I got chocolate cookies and grape sugar though.

I slept poorly this night and am rather tired, and it’s still two hours until the exam. Since Monday, we have spent two full days doing nothing but preparing for this single exam, all day. In fact, in my experience for the exam period compartmentalization is key–putting things in neat boxes, in your mind, and opening them only one at a time. If the exams are reasonably spaced out, as they are this time, this works. Two days before the exam, become completely single-minded. Block out everything else, even private life, whenever possible (though I did enjoy the choir practice meeting last night as welcome distraction), and concentrate on just this one exam. It’s the only way to avoid getting crazy.

Even so, this exam is a nightmare. Two different teachers and about a dozen different subjects that have very little in common. Well over a thousand lecture slides. And still, after these two days I have this familiar feeling that one way or another I am done with this. Either I am really well prepared by now, or else my brain capacity is exhausted.

So this morning we are no longer doing anything for this exam. And not for any other exam either, of course–that would be disastrous. We are just hanging out here, eating scrambled eggs (not me, but my co-students–it’s the latest hot thing in the cafeteria) and checking the internet for updates about the G20 hysteria. And talking about nothing in particular. Luckily we got here in time, because the real traffic chaos is not expected before tomorrow when all the summit participants arrive. And now all we can do is wait and try not to drive ourselves nuts.

Once this exam is behind us, the worst for this term is over. Computer networks on Monday morning (8 a.m., mind you, which is somewhat crazy considering I try to be an hour early for every exam, just in case) is a lot more predictable. And after that, the other two exams are oral, which is, for me, completely relaxed. And Friday next week it’s time for the traditional term-end beer in the local pub.

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