So it’s that time of semester again: that time where emotions run high and motivation runs low. For that matter, it’s that time of year too: week 13 of semester 2 invites the exciting prospects of summer and a whole few months free of uni. Yes, there is much to look forward to. But, and I don’t know if this is just me, does it seem too soon for this already? For me, it seems like only a few weeks ago I was bidding a fond (cough, cough) farewell to, shall I say, “certain” units, “thrilled” at the opportunity next semester would bring. It doesn’t seem like a whole semester has passed since these emotional partings. And it certainly doesn’t feel as though I’ve had an entire semester’s worth of knowledge bestowed upon me. Yet, here we are. Hence arises the anxiety that is week 13.
Of course the news isn’t all bad, though. Sure, it’s that time where you begin to regret allowing yourself those opportunities to zone in and out of lectures at will and the occasional RDO from tutorials. With exams looming near, it can feel like an impending apocalypse swiftly approaches your GPA. But then there is the nostalgia that you can’t help but fleetingly consider. As your lecturer imparts his last words of exam wisdom, and everyone lunges for the door, eager to deny their fast-approaching doom, it hits you. In this moment, I take the opportunity to reflect upon a semester’s worth of knowledge delivery: the attempts at class engagement that seemed so strained at first; the furious hours of note-taking that were this unit; those moments of silence before we realised that the lecturer had, in fact, made a joke; the fantasies of the coffee that awaited me in the break that some of my lecturers would never gift me.
Although some of these memories do seem far from fond, in a way they are. It is this time when I begin to appreciate the progress of the last semester. Have I kept to my study schedule? Have I made it to every class? Will I perform better than last semester? Maybe not. I can, however, appreciate the journey and the new things that my lecturers open up my mind to every semester. After all, this is what education is all about. It is this learning that I do so adore. Who knew acquiring knowledge could be so satisfying. This is an academic journey, whereby every step of progress brings me closer to the end goal. Real life? A job? Ugh, reality. Suddenly, the mountain of work awaiting me in SWOTVAC doesn’t seem so bad.
Or does it?
“See you next semester,” the lecturer calls out across the crowd.
With this, the moment of warm, fuzzy nostalgia quickly dies. Instead, it is replaced with a groan and a grimace at what next semester will bring. Not only do we still have exams to endure, but then we will have to do it all over again next semester. So, dejected yet resolute, we traipse out of the lecture theatre, with barely a backward glance acknowledging the era of learning we are leaving behind. We know what a gruelling next few weeks of deprivation and sacrifice we are in for. Still, the barest grin plays across my lips: this is learning, this is what we are here for. And I look forward to the same routine, different faces next semester.