May 22, 2008
The strangest era at university is exam time
By Diana Nabiruma
Guest Writer

Sometimes I wonder if the people that went to school before us made such a fuss of exams as we do.

It is as if we are the first lot to do exams at Makerere.
True, the general consensus is that no one ever gets used to exams and whenever they are around the corner, we all have to look extremely stressed.

Although I completely agree that the exam period is an unpleasant one, I also think that we should maintain a bit of sanity in our lives or else we might come out of the exam period looking all wrinkled like grandmas.

It is a bright, merry day and in an effort to remain happy amidst all the stress that is around us, we start telling jokes and thereafter laugh very hilariously even if the joke is not very funny. Then, in comes this thief of joy and she starts to stress all of us with her bad mood brought on by books. Granted, she does a very serious course (I wonder which ones are not very serious and who drew the line between the serious and unserious ones) but, I mean even those charged with the safekeeping of a country’s security smile once in a while.

Anyway, her problem is that we are laughing too much (is there anything like that?) and she thinks we should all get a tad serious and take to reading our books. “Some of you are surely going to get numerous retakes,” she says. Ha, we do not take kindly to this last statement for hey; no one likes to see their intellect being undermined. We spare her any insults and go out of the room and continue to make merry.

But, this leaves me wondering as to how many people out there could be letting exams stress them to bad levels.
It is not rare to find a student crying simply because a roommate has used their cup and not washed it. Do not think they are mad when, they are just using that small issue to let out their stress. Take the medical students for example, they work so hard and move long distances in order to get to their lecture rooms in Mulago and by the end of the day, they are too tired that a minor issue can make them howl and weep like they just lost a dearest of relatives. Some medical student actually told me that by year two, most of them have no other friends other than those that share the course and their books.

I strongly believe that we should strike a balance between books and a social life. Of course, I am no psychiatrist but at least I know of fixations, when I see them. You do not want to be the 55-year-old who jumps onto campaign trucks to scream for your candidate simply because you missed out in your youthful days.

You could even turn into one of those middle aged mamas we all look at queerly in Club wondering why they are not in their beds resting their tired bones at a late 4.00 am.
It is important that one enjoys themselves whenever they can for you never know when the world’s real grave problems might pay a visit.

Not only do campusers read like there is no tomorrow, they have these queer reading habits, that leave one vastly amused.

People reading from under trees, shrubs and in bushes is not a thing left to high school students any more. Probably they do this to avoid the heat in their rooms but even when it is chilly; it is not rare to find someone under a tree reading.

It is all about choices anyway, but I am not about to make myself fodder for insects and caterpillars that inhabit the grasses.

If you think reading under trees is not so abnormal, let me divulge another group. Some students decide to discuss their various subjects in their mother tongues. I am not against the use of one’s mother tongue, but the exams, except languages are set in English and it is only proper that they discuss in this language for proper preparation.
I chanced upon such students around the School of Education and at first, thought they were having a non-academic conversation but on listening closely, they were actually discussing History in a language I would describe as historical Luganda. When I inquired as to why they were discussing in Luganda, they told me that some of their companions did not understand English very well and they had to be accommodated. I wondered how those wrote out their exams and how they got that far anyway.

Queer all this is but, it is a queer world we live in. But my simple advice is, take life easy. Read a lot and play a bit. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.