Same year, same me

It’s exam season and I feel confused. My course work is fine and I’m studying as usual. But what is confusing me is that we’re about to end the year…in the middle of the year.

Image: Ton Toemen

For those of us from the global South, writing final exams in June feels really backwards and counterintuitive, and it’s taking my brain some time to get into final exam mode.

For twelve years of school and almost six years of university, my academic year has simply followed the progression of the actual year. We began with classes in January or February, and wrote final exams in December. It’s simple and easy to follow.

The best part though, was that final exams felt like a natural end to the year, and wrapped up the academic work just in time for the holidays. We still had a break for the midyear after the first semester, which also felt logical and offered a decent break before the final stretch. Once final exams hit, we felt like we’d just accomplished a year of work, and entered the holiday season with a climactic end to the year.

But now, and with the majority of the world, I face final year-end exams just before the summer. This feels pretty foreign to me, and I find that I’m battling to get my head into exam mode. It also doesn’t feel like I am about to finish my first year at Tilburg University. Ending in June is rather unceremonious, and I imagine it will feel just as weird starting a new academic year in September. There is also the small but annoying aspect of trying to be excited about starting second year while we’re still in the same year, and with no real feeling of transition from one academic year to the next.

Without the feelings of transition and progression, I have to admit that the exam period and year end feels anticlimactic. I’d be interested in hearing how other students from around the world feel about the quasi new year, and if this is something that feels as strange to students from places like Oceania, South America and southern Africa, as it does to me.

Perhaps they prefer the midyear end, and perhaps some students from the north would even prefer the February-December approach. Share your opinion with @universonline and let us know! In the meantime, I’m heading back to studying and wishing everyone a happy mid-2022 for the new year.

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