5 things I enjoy about SWOTVAC Week

*Blog will go on hiatus until after exams. 


Dear Seafarer,

It is SWOTVAC week (Revision Week). I wasn’t able to write yesterday, but I’ll make up for it now. Without further ado, here are some things I like about SWOTVAC, and possibly my last post for a while until exams are over.

1. The Bubble of Focus

During the SWOTVAC week, the university is condensed into a bubble of focus. You walk into libraries knowing that everyone is fighting the same battlefield. We are all soldiers, sharpening our own tools for war. You see students poring over notes, with their headphones plugged in, listening to lectures. You see students hunched over desks, scribbling, highlighting, reviewing. The tension is palpable. The concentration is so thick you could slice through it. If we could hear our own minds, perhaps it would be a constant sparking of electric, as our synapses communicate information back and forth. Multiply by a thousand other students in the same boat, and you’d get a rich, crackling symphony of brain activity.

Also, I think there is nothing more beautiful than the look of pure focus on someone’s face.

Concentrate. Concentrate. Let nothing sway you (and you look hot, so keep at it).

2. People get comfortable.

I know this sounds strange but I really like observing what people wear during SWOTVAC Week. There is a sense of getting comfortable, for a long night of studying. No glamour, no fuss. Girls come in bare-faced, loose clothing, glasses, hair pulled back messily (or not). Men come in…as they usually do. Flip-flops. Hoodies. Pajamas. The occasional onesie. You see people with their feet propped up on chairs. You see someone curled up on the common area couch, with their notes on their face, and you instantly understand. You see a tired student with rings under his/her eyes and you silently applaud them for having fought a long, hard battle. Nobody cares about how they look, how you look. We’re here to get our geek on, and we understand if you aren’t dressed to the nines, or looking like your usual radiant self.

Although you do have a small margin of people looking as fresh as morning dew no matter what time of the day it is, or whatever it is they’re wearing, or how much sleep they lack, and you cry silently on the inside.

3. Empathy, free candy, and eating whatever the heck you want 

SWOTVAC is definitely a week for getting free stuff. Yesterday a guy came up to me and my friends and offered us a bowl of chocolate and candies. The Law Society’s Equity board recently came up with “Tim-Tam Tuesday”, where you get access to…Tim-Tams, set upon a silver platter in a corner of the library. My lovely church friends came up with “exam packs”, lovingly packaged with yoghurt bars, Freddos, Mars bars, jelly, M&Ms, cookies, and a personalized message. Sometimes, you get random homecooked food. It’s awesome.

You snack on food you might never touch otherwise; chocolate, bags of chips, energy drinks, Pockies, sugared peanuts. You drink more coffee than you probably should have. Although you might feel a little bad, at the back of your mind, you justify it with the fact that you’re “studying”. Brain cells are a ravenous bunch that need constant nourishment. Who am I to say no to that?, you tell yourself, as you reach for another packet of chips at 3 a.m. A guy passes you a chocolate, and between the fat accumulating within your thighs and a short, temporary lust for all things sweet and indulgent, you choose chocolate. And damn you, it feels good.

4. Going home at twilight

This is something I personally enjoy. There is something lovely about walking back, exhausted, after a productive study session at the library. I broke daylight once, trying to complete an assignment. It was the first time I watched the sky fade slowly into brightness. If I could stand it, I would do it again.

The world is different at night. The university is illuminated with mellow, golden light. I do secret twirls in corridors and halls, and nobody notices. I walk through roads with my head towards the sky, and I don’t worry about running into cars ( not at 3 a.m, at least). The sun doesn’t burn into my skin. At 4 a.m, the birds start to twitter sweetly.

Also, have I told you about the stars? Every now and then, you should look up, and be reminded of the beautiful vastness of the universe. I marvel at the strange and humbling thought that I have somehow been brought to existence, and that a big, powerful world like this has gently sustained a million, tiny breathing particles like myself.

5. Almost there

We are all transversing on a timeline towards an unknown somewhere. For some of us, this might be our first major university-level exams. Or maybe it might be a second chance to prove ourself after a failed semester. Or maybe we are already at the end of our degrees, and this might be the very last time we’d be sitting formally for an exam, in an academic setting. Whatever it is, we are transitioning, going one step closer towards something above and beyond. This coming exam marks another milestone of our lives. It has been a long, hard semester. Through the complaining, the stress, the penduluming grades, the tedious assignments, we are almost there. Not quite, but close. It’s coming.

To me, the anticipation of it can be just as sweet. Perhaps even sweeter than the moment itself. And we can look forward to the planned vacations, the little projects we want to do, all those Netflix movies we want to watch, all those books we want to read. Whatever it is, or whether or not you actually do it, you know that rest will never feel as sweet and as justified as the one that comes right after your final exams of the year.

Until then, let’s hold on and enjoy the ride.

Have a happy SWOTVAC, everyone! Best of luck for your exams, wherever you are.

I should probably get back to studying myself.

Take care, Seafarer.


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