On the night before your first final exam, you flip through your notebook, confident that you have learned all there is for you to review. You skim through lessons, facts, and formulae, understanding how they all work and how they could be applied. You feel ready academically, yet the fear of failure nags at you in the back of your mind. You wish you had a reviewer for the week ahead. A little PDF file that you can just absorb and practice with, just like you do with all the academic courses you’ve studied for. “Practice Exercises for Dealing With Finals Week,” you imagine.
- You are in high school. You are in class, and you have just received your exam results. Every time your classmates walk around asking people, looking for someone to compare with.
a. You will tell them your score when they ask. They would not look surprised when you tell them. You both know you will always get the highest one. They’ll mumble in frustration that surely someday you’ll slip up and let someone else get the high score for once.
b. But they don't bother to ask, and you don’t bother to say it. You both know you will always get the highest one.
c. You tell them your score, this time when they ask. They seem surprised when yours is somehow lower than theirs. Surprise gives in to joy, gives in to celebration. You are no longer the best!
d. They don't bother to ask anymore. To them, you’re defeated, no longer untouchable from the top. You don’t know whether to feel sad about it or feel relieved the pressure is off of you.
- It is now near the end of the school year, and several universities have released their entrance examination results. Around you, people celebrate and cry and ask and hide. You see people post their results.
a. You do not post yours. You know that everyone knows you’ll always get through.
b. You do not want to post yours. Let your future be a mystery.
c. You post your results eventually. Partly because you got into your dream school, so you need to celebrate it. Partly to remind everyone that you’ll always get through, no matter what the score is.
d. Your post gathers reactions and well wishes. Among all the content in a feed, yours is just another that found its way there.
- You are now in college. You are in class, about to receive your first exam results.
a. To your left, your instructor bends out their hand to give out the next paper to your seatmate, facing downwards.
b. Your seatmate to the right shifts in their seat. They take the paper, then turn to you expectantly, a silent question hangs between you as the instructor hands you your own paper. The answer left unspoken was already understood when you simply stored the paper in your bag without comment.
c. You wish so hard for the grades to be curved.
d. You consider shifting courses.
- You spend so much time studying. In the library, at your place, before class, in class, after class. It is still, and you feel like the lone person in the universe, with the only sounds being the scratching of your pen and flipping of pages under the glow of the electronic desk lamp. The spell breaks as your device notifies you of an incoming group call from your friends.
a. You want to tell them to leave you be, that you need to finish studying.
b. But that would be rude, wouldn’t it? They’re probably doing their own work themselves and want to talk a bit. You join the call.
c. It isn’t too bad. Nobody talks; you all have different courses, and besides, people around you are asleep. On your device, you see them typing out an assignment, highlighting their readings. You turn your focus back to your notes.
d. Time melts down, and you don’t realize you’ve fallen asleep at your desk until the sound of your friend’s alarm reaches you through the call that none of you bothered to end. When you see each other in person later, you know you’re going to have a laugh about it.
- It is December, and you will have just finished your finals. You file out of the classroom. You won’t know what your test results will be until you see them on your grades portal, but you are aware of other things.
a. You are so tired.
b. You are so relieved.
c. You are pretty sure you’ll pass this time.
d. All statements are true.
- You wait in line to get inside campus. The Paskuhan concert will not start until hours later, but you’d want to find your friends and find good places to sit.
a. Even this early, there’s already a queue to get inside. Everyone’s eager and anticipating, but the long line is agonizing. When will your turn to enter be finished? It will be some time before you reach your turn to enter the gate.
b. When you finally get inside campus, you receive a notification from your group chat. That one of your friends is running late and has just fallen in line to get inside. You’ll send a reply. You don’t mind waiting, you say.
c. In the meantime, you’ll try to find another friend who’s already there. You’ll both head to the gate for the group to meet, and once you’re all together, you’ll sit on mats on the field and halfway through, get up and dance to the concert music. You’ll get a snack from one of the stalls and take a walk under the Christmas lights. And you’ll talk about anything other than academics for a while – holiday plans, crushes, news, stories, the weather. Finals will nag at you, but it’s already done.
d. Later, in bed, when you’re floating in the space between wakefulness and sleep, the last thought on your mind before drifting off is that you’re just glad to have made it to the end.