There is no time of year where students are more neurotic, frustrated, and just absolutely miserable to be around than exam season.
Along with energy drink sales, one thing that seems to skyrocket around this time of year is the number of times the fire alarm goes off on my campus. On average, I’d say the alarm goes off once, or maybe twice a month at the University of Manitoba. Yet during exam season that number probably doubles, or even triples. During one of my exams last year, the alarm went off three times in a row.
I may not be able to prove this, but I doubt that the number of fires suddenly begins to increase on campus when the end of the semester rolls around. It’s more likely that the increase is the work of students, who feel like they haven’t learned anything all semester and are pulling the alarm in a desperate attempt to get out of their exam. Or, they have the sense of humor of a sixth grade kid, and thought it would be a hilarious prank. Apparently wasting your classmates’ time, and the time of the fire department, is side-splitting for some people.
Pulling the fire alarm has got to be the worst exam escape plan ever. It doesn’t even get you “out” of the exam. Unless the building is actually on fire and students are forced to go home, everyone shuffles back inside the exam room after the fire department has finished inspecting the building. The professor tacks on more minutes to the time you’re required to stay, and everyone finishes the exam as planned. All that’s accomplished by pulling the alarm is being forced to stay longer in the exam room, and severely pissing off your fellow students.
I realize the majority of students don’t see pulling the fire alarm as a viable alternative to writing their exam, but the notion that some students do serves as a testament to the amount of pressure students put on the outcome of their exams.
When those exams are worth 30, 40, even 50 percent of your grade, it can put a whole lot of weight on one test, and make pulling that little red leaver seem like not such a bad idea. Especially if you’ve got law school applications, grad school applications, or medical school applications riding on your GPA.
That being said, how much time does anyone spend thinking about their exam after they’ve finished writing it? For the average student, probably not a whole lot. It may feel like your entire future is weighing on the outcome of one little test, but in reality, it’s just a test. There are so many more worthwhile things to stress out over, and to pull the fire alarm for.