I sat my last ever university exam on Wednesday and it’s all over bar the marking. It’s been a rocky old road to get here. It was a part-time six-year degree and as regular readers will know, I had a fully-functioning brain until two years ago when MS came along and messed around with it.
Since then, it’s been an uphill struggle. I nearly gave up after five years, but quite fancied the (Hons) after my name so ploughed on for another year. It was worth it though and the sense of achievement has been incredible, as was the bottle of bubbly I had waiting in the fridge.
I’ve been lucky. My MS nurse has written a letter in my defence, something along the lines of, ‘…please excuse Stumbling, her cat ate her study notes and her brain doesn’t work properly’. Which is just as well. I struggle to remember my shopping list, so how on earth was I supposed to remember a whole year’s worth of facts, ready to regurgitate onto blank paper? In my shaky handwriting?
It didn’t help when a fellow student emailed me the day before asking if I had revised Esping Anderson. If I knew what it/he/she was, perhaps I might have. As it was, to me it just sounded like an Ikea dining table.
Anyway, I arrived at the exam centre, ignored the last minute swotters, and took my seat. I set out my pens and bottle of water. The woman next to me set out a lucky teddy, three bottles of water, two packets of nuts and a bag of chocolate buttons (where did she think we were, a cinema?). The clock on the wall ticked round to 10am and we turned our papers over.
I was obviously in the wrong exam, sitting the wrong paper and toyed with the idea of pretending to faint. But as if by magic, the words rearranged themselves and they actually started to make sense. Three hours later, and with a lot of padding and random waffling, I was done. I clicked my pen off and shuffled the papers together.
As I left, I noticed the woman sadly pack her teddy away. I stumbled out the building, high on relief and headed home to google Esping Anderson.