The last time I wrote in this blog was about six weeks ago, when I was young, fresh-eyed, idealistic and full of hope and dreams for the future. Now, as I sit propped up against my bed in my house in Derry, I look more like an alluring crossbreed between a dusty scrote-bag and Silvio Berlusconi's conscience; something wrinkled, battered and exhausted. The reason for this change is the exam period and its aftermath.
Four, three-hour exams, combined to account for (thanks to my jaunt to the States last year) 75% of the fecking degree.It was made an even more enthralling prospect because of the conditions of my future lawyer job. The firm made it lovely and clear that a 2:1 was necessary, or the contract would be void...lovely. It sounds straightforward enough, and I gathered my (pitifully incomplete) notes as best I could in anticipation of a double-barrelled cramming season, bought the 'nutshells' notebooks and stocked up on the cigarettes and 'colour-and-animal' energy drinks. My desk, once a feasible alternative to my bed in cases of extreme drunkenness, was transformed into a multi-platform study console, and I wept.
I had been working in a wee Gaeilgeoir pub on Harcourt til about three days before my first exam - the bow-carrying white horseman. Working in the bar was really weird; a mixture of bullshit politics and heaploads of fun, with cheap pints and a mostly nice group of people working and spending (far too much-) time there. By the time I was quitting though, the place was really starting to grate on me, so it was almost a relief to leave.
Company Law was first; an almost mind-numbingly boring buffet of rules and regulations. I did my usual superb trick of not sleeping beforehand, and by some weird fucking spark of chance, I didn't die. I had my Nerdgasm Hyperpack handy, the greatest collection of stuff that an exam-person needs, and by a mixture of sugar, caffeine, nicotine and panadol, I got through it.
Okay, so far so good.
Now, that was all fine and dandy after I'd had a few hours sleep. Then, it was back on the wagon, filling my head with all the stuff needed for the next injection of fun...Equity. The exam, on the Monday, was a tough one, and I had more than one of those "Oh shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit I don't know a thing!!!!" moments before calming down and finally finishing.
This went on for a while; this system of no-sleep/lots of cramming. By the third exam, my routine had started to resemble an 80's 'against the odds' montage of late nights, coffee and smiley thumbs-ups! I'd even started to sleep. I was feeling pretty good until the night before my 3rd exam - Intellectual Property.
My routine had become set in stone; study from 10 to around 2 (with a few breaks etc in the middle). Sleep from 2 to 7, then arse about in the morning. On exam days I tried to get one or two hours and wake up early to cram. All pretty standard. On the night before IP (well, very early in the morning before) I was in bed sleeping, trying not to freak out and my phone went off. Groggily I checked the text to see who it was, and balked. It was Western girl, who had been angry about the post-yakka fatigue, sending me one of her patent 'attention' texts. It was suitably mid-conversational and (totally sincerely) badly spelled to confirm drunkeness and accidental sending. Bollocks obviously. I'd received them from her before, and they never failed to provoke a typically apathetic reaction...except this time it was a few hours before one of the biggest exams I've ever taken, and that had quite a lot riding on it. Needless to say I'm still angry about it.
There was a week between that and my final exam, one week to go back to neutral, to catch up with returning friends and pack my stuff away. I met the parents of my friend M during that time, and it was funny to find how jumpy and nicotined-up I was in the face of these lovely calm people.
Finally, Evidence. I'd always loved it when I'd studied it in the past and had found the (few) lectures this year to be pretty cool. Again, the montage scene took a hold, albeit with a few enjoyable caffeinated interludes , and I was a wee bit more confident until about 20 hours before the exam. I realised, too soon, that trying to study evidence completely was like trying to pick up mercury with a fork.
The exam was painful, to say the least. I was sat beside a twitchy, weird nutcase who ate the noisiest food in the world and kept giggling at every opportunity. The room stank of sweat and desperation and you could tell that we were all dying for it to be over. The clock ticked closer and closer and then...nothing. There was no great gust of sighed relief or even (as I'd imagined) an explosion of cheers as all the inexplicably good-looking people around me started dancing and singing in unison. No, all that happened was a huge apathetic version of a Mexican wave (the Gallic shrug, we'll call it) and then everyone shuffled out, as if to the firing squad.
What the fuck? This is the moment we've all been waiting for and all we do is...mill around outside, like a bunch of mourners at a wake, trying desperately hard not to cry. Bad craic
We were all completely fried and totally exhausted so it's no surprise that after a few drinks none of us were really much use to anyone. All I could do was order a pizza (or two) and try to relax...