Stressy SWOTVAC Stress

This week I had a haircut.

My hairdresser – ‘So how are you? How’s your week going?’

Myself – ‘Well, I’m on SWOTVAC this week, so you could say my week is definitely … going?

My hairdresser – ‘ So what does SWOTVAC actually stand for ? Like, is it an acronym for something? 

I felt that was a very interesting question. Throughout my academic career I’ve always just used the term in vague association with ‘study week’ but without any real consideration for what it meant. This gap in my knowledge exposed, I became restless, unsatisfied. I had to discover the truth. This quest to discover the true meaning of SWOTVAC led me to the authoritative research source ‘urban dictionary. com’ .

Here I found the term defined as – ‘The time right before university exams in which students no longer have to attend classes. Generally about a week long. To ‘swot’ is to cram or study intensively. Swotvac is a ‘vacation’ in which students are expected to study for their end-semester exams.’

Still, I was not satisfied with this definition. Subsequent research conducted on Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers provided similar results, which were similarly disappointing. See, In my opinion all these definitions failed to address a focal component of what SWOTVAC means; to me personally and arguably – to student society at large. A whole lot of stress and anxiety !

 Perhaps this issue has not been encompassed in authoritative Wiki/Urban Dictionary ‘SWOTVAC’ definitions as, to an untrained eye, it is difficult to document natural observances of such stressful student behaviour. In fact, there may be little outward physical signs of a student experiencing any exam stress/ anxiety.

Take for instance student A. Student A has a week to essentially relearn an entire semesters worth of knowledge for 4 exams, each within the space of 5 days, each worth 45-60%.

This is a representation of Student A’s outward physical behaviour


This is a representation of Student A’s inner thoughts


Nay, to truly understand the stressful effects of SWOTVAC one must dig deeper to observe the alarming irregularities. For instance –

The diet of the student  – Was caffine ever meant to be a major food group? It’s ok that I can’t see my hands right ? … right ?

The student sleeping habits –  Anxiety and a caffine diet will inhibit students from sleeping at all. Or conversely, students will become so exhausted by their internalised stress they will resort to a constant state of near slumber for survival purposes.

Student communication abilities – Typically just grunts, incoherent mumbling, sobbing and eye twitching which may be some kind of morse code ?

Student social relationships – HAHAHAHA !

While it is true, there is currently no complete cure for SWOTVAC induced stress/anxiety, there are various recommended coping methods which have been proven to reduce the intensity. For instance; making an effort to socialise with friends and family (being stuck with only your own panicked thoughts as company for a whole week is a sure path to a mind implosion), and taking time out  to do an activity you enjoy (everyone needs some time out to relax, do something that makes you happy – wether that be exercise, meditating, running a bubble bath, or watching your favourite tv show).

Whilst it is very important to study, it is perhaps more important that you don’t end up feeling like this  –


Or this –

crop circles

Defeated by finals week, this kid was on the baseball field at 2:30am making crop circles

Or this ….
all work no play

Good luck with exams scholars !

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