Hello Exam Stress, My Old Friend

I so do not have things in perspective. My exams start tomorrow and I. Am. Freaking. Out. Although unproductive (the stress has turned my brain to a sieve, making all attempts at panic revision completely pointless), exam stress has once again pushed all other stresses out of my brain. Which is awesome, because as I type this in the back of the car (to post when I get back on campus) I cannot ignore the occasional thump of a wheelchair rolling around in the boot behind me. Not a single part of me wanted to bring it back with me. I do not want to be that person again. But there are times in our lives where we must all admit defeat. I swallowed my pride… Multiple times. Then I buried my nerves and my fears and my desperation for an adult to talk to. And I put the stupid thing in the car. Because I am that person at the moment, whether I like it or not. I can walk, but I can’t walk far, and not just because my knee likes to dislocate itself, but because I swiftly lose the ability to breathe. I still want more than anything to wake up and go for a long run like I used to, because that never failed to make everything ok. But I am most definitely not that person any more. I’m not sure what I am, or who I am, but I’m going to sit my exams. I get to suffocate in exam stress and convince myself I’ve failed before I’ve even walked into the room. And for such a long time I would have given anything for that. Stressing about exams is such a normal thing to do (maybe not to this extent, but I always freak out in exam season). It’s something the old me and the new me have in common. So I let go of everything else and slipped into the panic, and I let this exam stress take me home.

So much is going wrong. I have so much to worry about. But all that matters right now is these exams, which is really, really stupid. But thank goodness. In a month I will resurface, a complete emotional wreck who can no longer find it within themselves to care about the exams that for the past four weeks will have ruled their life. And at that point, as always, reality will hit me like a train. Right now all I can think about is whether or not I know enough about transmembrane transport and bioenergetics and the MAPK pathway thingy (ok so I clearly don’t know enough about the last one). One of the lecturers on this module told me I probably won’t do very well in these exams. I want to pass the exam just to prove him wrong.

Only a few close friends have any idea what I’ve been going through physically and emotionally over the last four weeks. I’ve given all of myself to revision, but there wasn’t much left to give. Most members of staff I’ve spoken to look at my coursework and say they will be surprised if I don’t get a first (or at this stage, an A). They better prepare to be surprised. They will have no idea why I fell short of their expectations and my own. They will have no idea how hard I had to fight leading up to their exams, or how unwell I have been. I probably won’t even look that unwell, and if I do I expect I will once again be asked to prove that I am safe to be on campus. I will feel as though I somehow have to justify whatever grade I end up with, and I will probably cry whatever it is because I had to fight so much harder to get it, and it will not just be a mark of my intellectual capability, but an inky representation of my ability to defy odds and keep going even when I shouldn’t, and thought that I couldn’t. How did it all go this wrong? How is it, at the same time, still so right?

I’ve nearly died so many times since I started this degree in September. I’ve come very close to taking actions in order to induce such an event myself, but some incredible individuals broke down the walls that allowed my emotional isolation and in doing so saved me from myself. Right now, everything life has thrown at me to knock me off my feet is another reason to hold my head up high. I may be broken, I may be empty, I may feel hopeless just for the past couple of days (exam stress is overshadowing that but it is still very much there), but I am going to sit this exam tomorrow. I may be laying in the gutter, but it has given me the time I needed to notice the stars.

 

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My room

For now, I just got back to university (excuse the mess). The above image is of precisely where I am going to spend the next few hours in a mad panic of revision and a massive pizza binge with my friend. We’ll just pretend there isn’t a wheelchair that I’m meant to (probably won’t, but should) use slightly out of shot… I have named it Winston (the device in my chest is called Reginald. I like to give unpleasant things ridiculously British sounding and totally unthreatening names)

I’m already missing my dog like mad (he finally met next door’s puppy just before we left, as I went round to say goodbye). My furry rock is gone.

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