I remember being in the midst of my final exams a year ago and thinking it was unreal that the people in the year above me had spent an entire year out of school.

Being within exams can really mess with your mind. No matter how many people tell you that the exam period flies by, it doesn’t, and you’re stuck in this cycle of studying crazily and sitting exams for what feels like an eternity. But, one year on, I look at the experience completely differently.

I was never a good studier. I did study, sometimes into the very late hours of the night, but never well. I would be the person who would get hundreds of pages of notes from people in the year above me but having no goddam clue how to actually use them.

I’d be rewriting essays I didn’t know, remembering them with mixed results. Looking back, I wish I nailed what I knew already, instead of hoping I could sync a Hamlet essay into my head when I had barely managed to write it in the first place.

I also never gave myself breaks. Despite have ten day gaps in-between exams, I wouldn’t work, I wouldn’t go out.

Instead, I’d just sit at home, hoping some random spurt of motivation would come.

It rarely did. I wish I looked at my time wisely, understanding that I could take breaks, and that would in fact be beneficial in my study schedule.

If a milkshake with a friend saves you from burning out early on, have that damn milkshake.

I also thought it would never finish. There were times where I couldn’t envision the other side of exams.

Because I had Drama on the final day, each day would pass, and another friend would be finished, and each friend that finished, the waiting felt even longer.

Having this past year post-exams fly by, I can assure you that there is another side and there will be a point when you forget what the uni admissions website is called, crazy I know.

I know exactly how hectic everything is feeling right now but with the benefit of hindsight, it really is such a small part of your life.

After this is all done, you’re going to have new things that will make you happy, new things that will bring you stress, and exams will soon be a distant memory.

My biggest piece of advice is to really cherish the few weeks you have celebrating finishing school. These are the memories from exams that you will hold onto the most.

Have fun studying! Look after yourself! Drink as many milkshakes as you need!