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Romanticising exam term: Impossible challenge?

How to ensure Easter isn’t your worst term by default


The Cambridge ‘Shut-Down’: everyone wakes up on Monday post C-Sunday feeling all the more pitiful for themselves. What could make it even worse? To realise the entirety of Cambridge is in Lockdown 2.0 until post-exams. If Cambridge wasn’t depressing enough, no more Wednesday Revs or Sunday Lolas will be there to see us through our mid-exam term breakdowns.

However, with only 24 weeks a year in this place, we cannot afford for a solid chunk of it to be simply thrown away. Exam term does not have to be six weeks or so of misery, and two weeks of ecstasy. You can do both.

I would say that sunny days make it a lot easier, given we live in the second driest place in the UK, but with the recent weather, maybe we can’t rely on that.

Here are nine ways to live, laugh and love in these conditions:

1. The Cambridge Library Bucket List

This is actually just really sad.

But, three things are certain in life: death, taxes and having to go to a library this term. Bored of your claustrophobic college library? I think it’s time to venture out. With over 100 libraries hidden in the depths of the city, at least a change of scenery will do you good, even if your work isn’t.

Missing an Ikea trip? Visit the English library. If you need to see some light (you do), the Law library is for you. Fancy people watching? Seeley it is.

A word of caution, however: students of that library will somehow know you’re an outsider.

UL hack: it’s a social experiment (Image credit: BeReal @paddy.dolan)

2. May May week come soon

The only thing to save exam term from being cancelled altogether, its apology video if you like, is its May Balls and everything else to follow. Although it seems like it will never come, especially because it doesn’t even happen in May, it is right around the corner.

Soon you’ll still be awake at 4 am, it just won’t be in the library.

Trinity May Ball, a bucket list item (Image credit: Anna Peterson)

3. ‘Why don’t we just relax and turn on the radio?!’

Soon you’ll still be awake at 4 am, it just won’t be in the library.

Trinity May Ball, a bucket list item (Image credit: Anna Peterson)

3. ‘Why don’t we just relax and turn on the radio?!’

If you’re even reading this article it means you’re taking time out. And what’s better productive procrastination than reading The Tab?

Straws galore (Image credit: Patrick Dolan)

4. Exams are temporary, a tan is forever

Outside libraries are now a thing. Whether it be on your college’s courtyard, Jesus Green, or Parker’s Piece, outside working always changes up the dynamic. You can’t actually see your screen and the hayfever will kick in, but why would you sit inside on a day like this?

I can’t promise you won’t end up having a couple of tinnies and an ice cream, though.

Working hard or hardly working (Image credit: BeReal @paddy.dolan)

5. BeReal(er)

If you haven’t heard of the new update, you’ve been living under a rock. Or maybe you’re just a finalist.

Previously, if you wanted to BeReal in Cambridge, it probably looked as if you were leading a very boring life. But now, you can show the grind in the day (and stress all your uni friends out) and something slightly less taxing later in your bonus BeReals, if you get the time of course.

Rumboogie, pls make a comeback and save us all (Image credit: BeReal @paddy.dolan)

6. Brunch is bae

Some people say they like being at Cambridge for the status, but to be honest, I’m just here for the brunch. Line the stomach for the (library) sesh for less than the price of a Nero coffee.

Perfect way of procrastinating too by waiting in a line for a good 30 minutes…

Rate Alicia’s brunch (Image credit: Patrick Dolan)

7. Exercise (your body, not brain)

If you’re a blue, skip to No.8. If you’re anything like me and your sport and exercise career has taken a bit of a hit at uni, maybe it’s time to rejuvenate it.

Late-night runs, the gym, five-a-side footy – your choice.

If you still aren’t convinced, be one of those people who listens to a podcast whilst working out – productive procrastination.

Bit of tennis never hurt (Image credit: BeReal @paddy.dolan)

8. Hey Siri, play ‘Work’ by Rihanna

You now have the perfect excuse to waste time curating the perfect study playlist. All of that for your AirPods to be dead when you get round to revising though.

Just don’t be that person who forgets to connect their headphones and blast music out loud in the silent library – we’ve all been there.

Here’s Ella’s ‘let me be light academic in peace’ playlist for excellent inspiration:

9. Dog and Bone

And if all else fails, phone home and chat to your dog for a bit. I think they’ll appreciate the catch-up and it’s the best form of therapy for any student in times of crisis.

If you don’t have a pet, I guess speaking to family and friends from home will somewhat suffice.

Is he bothered? (Image credit: author’s own screenshot)

Remember people: work hard, play hard, BeReal.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably) on 0800 58 58 58.