Well, the last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster really. And it’s not just the mountain of assessment that I’m talking about. What I’m referring to are exams. A bit pre-emptive, I know, but bear with me. When I took my first glimpse at my draft exam timetable earlier this week, I took it in my stride. It’s true, my exam schedule was a bit unfortunate, but it was something I figured I would just work around. That’s when I saw everyone else’s reaction.
I’m not sure how many of you are or at least know law students, but we can be quite a vocal bunch. Of course, nothing is taken more seriously than our exams. After the investment of countless hours throughout the semester trawling through endless readings; tenderly preparing our notes and eloquently bickering with one another about the correct application of the law, exam time is our time to shine. So when it transpired that we had two law exams on consecutive days, all hell broke loose.
Now, I don’t like to be “that” arrogant law student, but the prospect of having two law exams on consecutive days is somewhat intimidating. Especially since I am a double degree student, as usually I will have one law exam each week of exam period. Having never faced this before, I knew I would have to be organised to have my preparation in order. In fact, I think this can be generalised, the fact of having two exams at all on consecutive days is daunting, not to mention two on the same day!
Note: I’m now really wishing I paid more attention to signing the petition about consecutive exams I saw floating around last year – bless you, student activists.
But all in all, I was accepting of my fate, and felt that this was just the way of the QUT universe. After all, it wasn’t so bad. Sure, I had three exams in the same week, but it could be worse. They weren’t first thing in the morning. Some people have four consecutive law exams, so my situation was nothing to shirk at.
Let me explain how the situation actually unfolded. Law is offered as a double degree, and it seems that as many as half of the people enrolled in law are actually part of a double degree, myself included. So about half of us second year law students found ourselves faced with these two consecutive exams. There they were, one on November 6 at 1.30pm, and another at November 7 at 1.30pm. Well, we couldn’t have that. Instantaneously, our Facebook groups were consumed in the uproar. Faux-polite emails of protest were sent to course coordinators, lecturers and basically anyone who would listen. Meanwhile, streams of abuse riddled Facebook, rallying us together in our masses to oppose this travesty.
Allow me to note to readers that exam timetabling is not controlled on a faculty level. We were reminded of this as anyone and everyone were bombarded by our fiery onslaught. So please, when you’re emailing your outcries of complaint, keep in mind that faculties can only make representations on students’ behalf regarding timetabling.
As it happens, on this occasion we were victorious against the powers that be.
It is this conceptualisation, however, that I think was our major flaw. Here we were, a student body united in our cause. However, it did not seem to occur to us that we were not against anyone. The university timetablers are not out to make our lives as miserable as possible, a fact that is easily forgotten amidst the stress of impending exams. Yes, our timetable may mean that we have to live on minimum sleep for days on end to get to exams on time whilst also juggling preparing for them. But that this is not the university’s personal slight against us bears remembering when we’re up past midnight on the eve of our last exam cursing their negligence.
I feel compelled at this point to extend a vote of thanks to those activist law students who protested on behalf of all of us double-law students. Thanks to you, I now have four evenly spaced exams over two weeks awaiting me at the end of semester. It is little things like this that detract from the stress of entering exam period and allow the focus to rest upon preparing well. THANK-YOU. It just goes to show that when we communicate our problems, if something can be done it usually will be.
This time justice won out and all is as well as it could be in the world of examinations. For now. Stay posted for any further developments and meltdowns as exams near.
Does anyone have a horror exam timetable to share?