There is something unique about the wait for exam results that puts it in its own league. Waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones, while ridiculously and inconceivably long, is arguably easier than waiting to hear about your academic doom. You miraculously got through the exams, the stress, the tears and the all-nighters. The only thing left is to find out if it worked. It seems to me that waiting, getting, and tearing up your exam results comes in stages, akin to those of grief. Because for many, exams are the death of our poor, under-appreciated student souls.


You spend those first 2 weeks after your last exam dividing your time between your bed and the pub. Sweet, lazy, ignorant bliss. But then, you start to see the word “results” crop up on Facebook pages. You remember the exams that you tried so hard to block out. It all comes flooding back; the cramming, the waffling, the pain in your hand after a 3 hour exam. And so begin the exam sweats, which are much like the food sweats, only more emotionally scarring. You refuse to believe that the results of your  inadequacy are coming out next week. Impossible. Sure, you only just finished your exams. It should take the lecturers at least one month to correct half of the drivel you spewed out. Those other poor suckers may be getting your results, but not you. No way.


Yet, denial, much like your motivation at the start of the college year, is fleeting. It’s quickly interchanged with anger upon realisation that you will actually find out whether or not you failed that economics exam. Who do those inconsiderate a-holes in college think they are releasing the results? I mean, I know we sat the exams and releasing the results is kind of part of the deal, but seriously, there must be a kinder form of torture. Instead of getting angry at yourself for doing feck all during the year, you project your anger onto the powers that be. They’re the real ones who are at fault.

Paul’s study technique involved the understanding that osmosis works with paper, too. Paul failed his exam.



Anger can only last for so long, though, because the time comes. You get your results. You open them. And then your friend hindsight, who just loves to come out to play at the very worst of times, comes to sit on your shoulder to show you the error of your ways. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. They always seem to come a bit late to the game, don’t they? After you deal with the red hot rage of realising your brain has failed you, your life flashes before your very eyes. Suddenly studying seems so easy, and why the hell couldn’t I have done some? If only I hadn’t gone to Coppers that night, I would have made that tutorial … I should have done the reading. I should have stayed awake during the lecture. More and more thoughts like that float through your mind as you try to figure out whether or not you can pass by compensation.


Stage 4. The stage that usually occurs from the safety of your bed. Deep, deep under the covers. Away from light, people, and general personal hygiene. We all know that exams are not the be all and end all, but at results time, all judgement goes out the window, just like you when your Mam founds out that you’re not the little Einstein you once lead her to believe. There is no other option but to sink into a deep, deep, Dominos filled depression. Once you realise that you’re going to have to go through it all again in August, nobody will see you for another few weeks.

This is Paul waiting for his results. Paul has not showered in three weeks. Don’t be like Paul.


The elusive, final stage. You accept your fate; you’re going back to that hell hole to repeat in August. Somehow, you can cope with this. When you eventually get through all these stages, you accept what needs to be done. You undergo a spiritual like epiphany, and tell yourself over and over again that exam results are not a measure of your worth. What about that selfie that got 50 likes that one time? With acceptance comes a strange calming effect, you may be screwed, but at least you have at least 2 months of summer before the nightmare begins again.

Clodagh McMeel.