They’re the competition and you need to bring them down
Fuck self-motivation and friendly competition. You have an inner bitch and exam term is the time to indulge it.
The stress is getting to the Cambridge public. Exam term is tough. We are all having dark thoughts and that is okay.
Welfare may well be organising de-stressing events such as hugging puppies and movie screenings. Advice floods from every corner of the university about how to cope with exam stress. Plan well. Sleep well. Work hard. Get occasional exercise. Socialise from time to time. Eat properly. All this is well and good, but we aren’t saints, and expecting us to perform miracles won’t work.
What no one is telling people to do is take pleasure in other people’s pain.
I have my eyes peeled for those people who look like they are going to crack under the stress. You can see it, mainly in their eyes. The weary bags and the fact that when they speak they look like they might burst into tears. The slightly exhausted shakes they have as they wolf down their dinner so they can rush back to the library to sob over their revision.
When I see it, I love it.
Okay, so it’s bitchy. But there is a lot of solace in looking at other people and being thankful that you haven’t descended to that level. Take comfort in the fact that there are people who are bigger wrecks than you.
The ones who are hard-working; they are the best ones to catch. After spending their whole year looking like they are so together and on top of their work, now is the chance. They’re the ones who normally lord it over us as we languish in the throes of our essay all-nighters.
Now we have the chance to see some of these people come off the hinges. They’ll probably still get a first. But relish – while you can – the fact that being fucking perfect is causing them at least a few weeks of sleepless, excruciating pain.
Schadenfreude is completely natural, and it can be an enormous buzz. The only bad thing is that for a lot of people there is an accompanying sense of guilt. Well, I say bin it, because it’s natural and allowable from time to time to just be a complete bitch. In exam term, I actively recommend it.
All of the false modesty and solidarity going around in exam term is so damn tiring. If you’re in a position to freak someone out about their exams, to make them feel bad about the amount of work they have done, or their levels of preparedness, take it and watch their faces. I promise at least a little bit of you will love it.
Subtlety is key if you don’t want to lose friends and alienate people. If you are good at undermining someone’s confidence in only the most indirect of ways, then it can be an amazing diversion in exam term. Watching other people squirm, as much as no one wants to admit it, is something we can all enjoy.
It should go without saying that you don’t want to do this to friends, but again to the annoying and condescending twats that can sometimes seem to so heavily populate this university. Those people who you will never outdo in work might have a weak spot, and if it’s exposed, go for the jugular.
It is also worth saying, on the level of exam term morals, that it is perfectly okay to irrationally hate those people who have done more work than you. Especially if they belong to the super race of evil humans who do 12 extra-curricular activities, are super lovely and are going to get a first.
Some will tell you that they achieve what they deserve and we should defer to and respect their self-motivation. Those moralising dicks can fuck right off. Embrace your inner demon.
It okay to laugh if you see them cry. It’s okay to hope that they are unhappy and have no friends. It is especially okay to laugh if they appear on the class list and all of their hard work and dedication has translated to no more than a 2:2, while your laziness has miraculously resulted in a 2:1.
I am not saying that one should abandon their moral compass in exam term. (Or maybe I am.) Exam term is tough and if you need to get a bit bitchy to deal with it then no one should judge you for that, and you shouldn’t judge yourself.
Relish the chaos. Basking in the pain of others is what you need.