People shouldn’t let exams bother them so much. I try to stress about them as little as possible. Let’s just look at my day so far, shall we?

I woke up today at 9:30. Deciding that I was still tired, I went back to sleep for another hour. At 10:30 I woke up again, got out of bed, and got dressed. Realizing that I was out of milk and cereal, I set out for the local grocery store to buy some.

As I left my residence building, I noticed snow on the ground, and a beautiful blue sky above, so rather than take the direct 20-minute walk to the grocery store, I took the 40 minute roundabout path that follows along the lake.

On the way to the grocery store, I passed by Indigo, so I went inside. I noticed that they had one of the three remaining Calvin and Hobbes books that I need to complete my collection, so I bought it. Then I went to the grocery store, bought milk and cereal, and headed back to the residence.

By the time I returned, it was 12:15. I poured myself a bowl of cereal and ate. Then I washed the bowl and brushed my teeth.

I surfed the web for a bit, and then closed my computer at around 1:15 and opened up the Calvin and Hobbes book. I put the book down at 4:30 to go eat, and then picked it up again at 4:50. I finished it at 5:15 and opened up my computer again and started typing this blog. By the time I finish this blog and hit the "publish" button, it will probably be close to 6:00. I’ll then look over what I’ve written and fix any spelling/grammar errors that I find (though in all likelihood I’ll miss something). That will take us up to 6:15 or so. I have to leave for fencing at 6:30, and I probably won’t bother doing anything productive in those fifteen minutes.

It’s a twenty minute walk over to the fencing gym, and the lesson itself starts at 7:00 and runs until about 8:30. Then it’s a twenty minute walk back, so I’ll be back in my residence just before 9:00.

Then, and only then, will I study for the three exams that I have this week.

And yet despite the fact that I will have wasted nearly 12 hours of potential study time today, I’m not concerned.

The studying will get done. I’m way too good a student to study inadequately for an exam.

But I want to enjoy my exam period as well. I want to relax.

And that’s the thing about being a university student. Yes, there’s work. Yes, there’s a lot of work. But there’s never so much work that you can’t take an hour or five to just enjoy yourself. To take a walk, to read a book, to post a blog, to watch some T.V., or whatever else you enjoy.

The past few weeks have been rough on pretty much everyone at every university everywhere. The last week of November and the first week of December are when professors all decide to make essays due, so everyone has been running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get things done. Facebook "fml" statuses reached new heights.

But why? There’s 24 hours in a day. The average essay is somewhere in between 1500 and 2000 words. People’s rates of writing vary from day to day and from subject to subject. Personally, I can pump out anywhere from 250-500 words per hour, unless I’m hit with some terrible case of writer’s block. Taking the minimum rate of writing and the maximum essay length of 2000 words, the base amount of time for writing an essay is 8 hours. Adding in three hours of research time, and two hours for editing and referencing, we’ve got 13 hours of work in order to produce a 2,000 word essay. Let’s double that in order to account for multiple essays due at roughly the same time. That’s 26 hours of work in total.

26 hours of work. That’s it. Even if you were to give yourself only four days to write both essays, you’re only devoting 26 out of 96 hours to essay work – under 30% of your time. Averaging it out, you’re devoting 6.5 hours per day towards your essay. Even if you’re a really heavy sleeper and sleep for eleven hours every day, you’re still only devoting half of your waking hours to essay writing. You still have another 6.5 hours to waste on eating, drinking, smoking a fine Cuban cigar, visiting the Kingston Penitentiary, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Life gets pretty rough, but it never gets so rough that you can’t stop to enjoy it for a little while. There’s no need to get stressed out.

(It’s now 6:15 exactly, and this blog is 835 words. 835 an hour. Guess it’s a fast day today).

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