1. Viva examinations are terrifying, but it’ll be fine. As a former teacher, I wasn’t particularly worried when I heard that my anatomy module had an oral examination. I’ve spent a year teaching classes filled with 30 teenagers, what could go wrong with a viva? It’s just two very capable and knowledgeable adult humans who teach you and who you look up to, nothing to worry about… Riiiiiight? So, naturally, there I am. The morning of the viva, my heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, and my brain has to think really long and hard about everything. What’s my name again? Maxime? Paula? Sofie? Sophie? Right, yes. My name is Sophie. What’s anterior and posterior again? Oh, God can I just like, not? Okay, here we go. Walk out the door, do I have everything? Coat, keys, phone, mask. Mask? MASK! Go back for a mask. Right. Into the building… why is my student card not scanning? Please student card? Oh, that’s my bankcard. Oops. Okay, walking in, put on my lab coat, mask, gloves… Who doesn’t love putting their nervous sweaty palms in nitrile gloves? Okay. I can do this. What’s my name again…?
In the end, it was fine honestly. I didn’t suffer a heart attack, the examiners were great about it and as it went on, my brain suddenly managed to remember quite a lot. Still, I’d prefer a small army of teenagers over this any time. Take it from me though, you’ll be fine. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this.
2. Rhyming in English is hard. In The Netherlands, we don’t really do gifting around Christmas, it’s what Sinterklaas is for on December 5th. So, when I was invited to do Secret Santa with the best club in Dundee (Dundee University Archery Club), I was hyped. At Sinterklaas it’s customary to write your victim a poem. You can write something nice, something funny or something brutally honest. As long as it rhymes, and it comes from a place of love, you’re good to go. I was shocked when I learned this was not a custom in the UK and I decided to do it anyway because tradition. Boy, did I regret that. Rhyming in English is… Intense. I spent about a week rhyming my ass off, doubting if two words rhyme or not (Naughty…. Faulty?) and sending it to native English speakers only to be told that it doesn’t. I now understand why there is so much poetry that doesn’t rhyme and why it’s no tradition to write a poem for your recipient here. It ended up being a week very well spent though, as my recipients seemed to enjoy their poems. However, I don’t think I’ll be writing poems again anytime soon.
3. Take breaks and do something fun. Yeah, I know. It’s finals week, there’s a lot of examinations and stress and panic. But take some time, just an hour a day even, to do something fun. Some of my best realisations of the past week came to me on the shooting line at archery practice. When you spent your whole day studying, there’s going to be a point where your head is full. When it is, go do something different. Take a walk, get dinner with friends, shoot a few arrows… Let your brain go for a while, be stupid, do something you know. And when you get back to your studies… You can start again with fresh energy.
Anyway, that’s three major things I learned this finals week. You can thank me later 😉