I woke up this morning to the sound of rain pouring down, and turning all the buildings around mine a darker shade of cement gray. I went to my balcony door and looked at the view. I was transported back 5-8 years ago, when it would always rain during my Semester 2 exam periods and it reminded me of how things have changed since. I was still financially dependent on my parents then, anything I bought I dipped into their allowance for me and always had to think twice about getting something....or came from my stash of savings from receiving angpows during Chinese New Year. All I had to worry about was when my holidays were, and how to do well in the mid-sem test, the next assignment, the next presentation...to try to score High Distinctions for my final exam papers....putting a lot of pressure on myself to excel. Uni was fun- but it was always more work than play for me. After all, my parents had invested a lot of money, time and effort to put me through Uni and that's no easy feat. I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford raising a kid (so expensive!), so I've resorted to raising Care Bears hahahaha.
The sight, smell and sound of rain this morning awoken this distinct memory in me and I can even remember how before each exam I would stop studying a day before and just relax, taking it easy and trying not to stress (not easy!). I would always rug up in the same winter jacket for my exams- with pockets for my phone and my keys. I never brought a bag to the exam hall, but I think it helped that I used to stay right opposite my examination place. I was always a light traveller ;) I would check that I had my favourite pencils and pens, my whiteout, my metal ruler, my eraser that's been in my possesion for a couple of years. I'm like that- I never change my things if they are still working fine, that way I don't amass massive amounts of junk, or have 2-3 of the same thing. I would be very calm as I bumped into friends outside the examination hall, with many of them freaking out even before stepping foot into the building.
I remember the feeling of taking my seat, and looking around me- hoping I didn't sit next to people who were fidgety or smelled bad hahaha. Unfortunately, having been through 6 crucial exam periods, I couldn't avoid weirdos who happened to sit around me. I remember being told not to flip open the exam paper until we were told to do so, and not to start until reading time was up. I remember going on auto-pilot and regurgitating everything I'd study....but it wasn't as straightforward as that. We needed to really think. It was about application of what we'd learnt. I remember the feeling of freedom, of liberation when the exam was over, and when we were told to 'stop writing'. The unofficial sign that exam had ended. I remember waiting impatiently as invigilators went around collecting papers. Hurry up, I would be thinking. I want to get out of here and smell the fresh air. The smell of being free from the shackles of formal education. I had a plane to catch, My holiday starts soon! Hurry, walk a little quicker. I remember rushing through the heavy double doors of the examination hall, glad to be out and not having to rummage in storage for my bag I never brought. Glad to be home, to start thinking about going to the airport to begin my 1 or 3-month holiday. Life as a student- was a breeze, relatively speaking of course, when compared to life to come!