Uni exams finished –what next?
As students finish their exams and head home to the island for the summer break will it be party, party, party or time to think ahead? Here Kathryn Sharpe, a York University second year student from Port St Mary, mulls it over
FOR the majority of students, exams are over.
In York this has led to people spending their days in hot competition over who can bake the perfect cake, sourcing out bars with the strongest cocktails and organising other sloth-esque activities, such as settling down to get through the TV series we could never justify watching during the exam period.
Despite claiming that ‘once exams are over, I’m definitely going to tidy my room’, or stating that ‘as soon as I’m finished, I’ll finally start organising that internship,’ these earnest promises seem to have been waylaid by the allure of freedom.
Can we assume that the end of exams means the opportunity to do whatever we want, or are there other tasks we should be focussing on?
After a hectic seven weeks of getting a packed lunch ready the night before to ensure a prompt 8am start in the library; battling out the competitive search every morning for a free seat, and then evolving into a hermit who only reads on 19th Century Iran for the day, surely now we deserve some time to break free?
In student terms, this nearly always seems to involve drinking until the point of being not entirely sure what university even is, and spending the subsequent day in a hangover hovel.
While this was justifiable and even reasonable behaviour at the end of first year, in second year it appears that we can’t actually ‘break free.’
This is because the end of the second year marks the summer before we graduate and leave university, forever.
Far from being able to relax, end of exams instead means preparation for this rapidly approaching event. This includes time to organise, or finalise, arrangements for summer internships.
If you’ve always known what you’d like to be, an internship in that sector could give you an edge when it comes to applications, as it demonstrates to future employees your enthusiasm and capability. For those of us who still have no idea about the different types of jobs out there, much less which we’d like to work in, an internship can give you ideas about what you like and dislike.
Internships can range from three-month placements to two weeks, and from big to small companies. Make use of the opportunities provided by your university, as many will organise paid internships for students in local businesses, as well as utilising schemes, such as STEP, on the island itself.
End of exams in second year is also time that could be used to prepare for a dissertation. While we may still be in the mindset that it simply isn’t possible to write a whole 10,000 words on a unknown topic, at some time we must unfortunately realise the truth of the matter.
Deciding on a topic before the summer is mandatory in some universities. And even if it isn’t at yours, it’s still advisable to start thinking about what might interest you.
If you’ve got your title, use the post-exam period to organise what books you’ll need to borrow from the library over the summer, and determine if you need to travel anywhere to examine sources.
My dissertation required a trip to Boston (I jumped at the chance to travel to the USA, and my dissertation acted as the perfect authoritive and academic excuse). I therefore spent a blissful weekend after exams believing that even though I hadn’t quite got round to it, someone else would surely organise it for me.
This line of thinking abruptly ended when I realised I wasn’t even certain where Boston was.
After a frantic week of contacting archive centres and libraries, my witch-hunting plans are now firmly in place.
Altogether, while it is important to shake loose the hermit costume we all don during exams, we must also realise that the end of exams does not equal the end of all responsibilities.
We still need to think strategically about the future, while simultaneously celebrating the end of studying Iranian peasants.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
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