Nearing the edge: It's the finals countdown

Alice Tate has some perspective for those of you fretting about your last term as a student

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The Independent Online

It’s here. Final semester. And for some of us - the ones chain smoking on campus, setting up 48-hour stations in the library, and jittering with caffeine, it’s the final term of final year.

As if our own consciousnesses, parents and tutors weren’t enough to have us feeling the pressure, the freshly plastered flyers that arrived around campus in Easter break are doing a great job of bringing us nearer to the edge: 'You worked for this for four years. You have four weeks left. Don’t throw it all away'. Another Red Bull anyone?

We talk about ‘the edge’ and in first year, it was only 'The Fear’ that would ever make us start an essay. There seems to be an unspoken rule among students that if it’s really important, we’ll leave it to the very last minute. Socialising, we organise. Drinking, we start early. Shopping, I’ve spent my next loan instalment already. But concluding an essay? That doesn’t happen until gone midnight on a Sunday night, when we power through to 9am deadlines on a cocktail of adrenaline, anxiety and Pro Plus.

The general consensus on campus is that we should have worked harder in second year. Yes, yes tutors, you were in fact right, but second year seemed more suitable for gallivanting, and deadlines seemed less pressing without the immediate burden of grad-jobs, so we’re backtracking and making up lost credits now. Anyway, fuelling our eleventh-hour habit, you’ll be pleased to hear they’ve made the main library 24-hour. Isn’t that just great?

In six short weeks, some of us won’t be students anymore; we’ll be graduates. We’ll be flung in to the world of work, full of earlier starts and Monday morning meetings. Some of us might have filofaxes and require packed lunches. Others will have to juggle internships with retail jobs. We will somehow transform into organised, efficient little butterflies, leaving the chrysalis of under-the-wire student life behind. I don’t know when it happens, but it does. It will. I’ve seen it happen to even the scattiest of students, who could tire you with their late night library tales. Maybe that’s the added bonus that comes with your classification. A mortarboard hat and a new life skill. 

So don’t despair. With exams around the corner, essays due, and reports unfinished, enjoy the next 48-hour library stint, for soon, it’ll be just a memory in the pupa of a former you.

Alice Tate is a freelance fashion writer, blogging at and tweeting at @alicetate_