As I sat in back quad with an infected eye, eating a dodgy tasting breakfast bap, watching this stupid black bird prance around on the grass in front of me, I thought to myself ‘fuck this. You win, Oxford. You fucking win’. Exams are always tough, but never in my life have I felt this utterly defeated – yes, this is a war and there will be winners and there will be losers. Quite frankly, I don’t feel much like a winner.
The sole thought that is pushing me through is the fact that in roughly 2 weeks I will be able to put this wretched place behind me. You know, the other day I received a card from my mother – she posted me a good luck card in anticipation of my 9 upcoming exams. Inside it was what she called ‘a good luck bracelet’ with the words ‘darling daughter’ on one side. Oh, and the words ‘in loving memory’ on the other:
Yep, little did she know that she had sent me a bracelet intended for people mourning over the death of their daughter. And though it was clearly an unintentional and pretty morbidly hilarious mistake on my mum’s part, there is some truth to this.
You see, Oxford isn’t just an institution, it is a raging river that I need to cross to get to where I want to be. And Finals is not simply a collection of papers that you sit, it is a living, breathing being. Just think of Oxford as the River Styx and examinations as Charon, the ferryman of the dead. All I need is to hop on Charon’s fucking boat and get across the river. Oh yes, and I am already dead at this point – once I cross this river, I don’t become alive again, oh no – I will be forever a soul of the dead, lurking in the underworld, but it’s still better than being on that fucking river.
Now, to end – because I really should get back to revision – the reason why I am posting this note, other than to let out some clearly deep-rooted frustration, is principally for my future self and for anyone who feels like they are somewhere on this spectrum of despair. Be you law students, philosophy students, A-level students, whoever you are, let me tell you this: I’m pretty damn proud of you. A lot of the time life seems to play jokes on you, throw in some unexpected hurdles and watch you struggle to jump over them. Sometimes it can feel like it’s you against the world. But fuck it even if it is. I’m rooting for us. Every day you don’t give up is a reason to declare yourself victorious. And I’m fucking proud. And when I’ve crossed the River Styx, that’ll be it from me. That will be my success story I tell people – I fucking made it to the underworld. And I’ll be sure to never look back.