Friday, 14 January 2011

'5 minutes left'

We've all heard them say it. We've all been there.
That sudden churn on our insides as the examiner claims we've got  ...
'5 minutes left'.

It is here the brain shudders with the shock,blood curdles, arms tingle and deep within the soul of each student in that dire, uniformed hall- a frightened, desperate gurgle erupts.
It is here we enter into the ...

Over the last two weeks I've made frequent visits to the  RED ZONE. Yes, the last fortnight I have been lucky enough to enjoy the splendor of solid examinations:

  • .The warmth of those  examiner's faces -as they death stare at you. (If you look straight into their eyes you can see the polluted,dark abyss's of their souls. Don't look for too long though,you may fall in. And drown)
  • Those elegant rows of  inviting wooden desks -all thin ,scrawny and (of course) wobbly
  •  .That silent blanket of air that cradles the room- brimming with an unbearable tension that seeps into our lungs and begins to suffocates us. Nice and slowly.

But nothing is worse than the RED ZONE.
Perhaps many find that with 5 minutes to go they've completed everything? They're just checking over things?
Well I'm, of course, a rambler-so never find myself in this position. It's always a mad rush to try and complete what I'm writing-somehow put down the swirling ideas in my head on to the paper, but it's never legible.
The RED ZONE with it's flashing lights and wailing sirens- not only whips my mind's swirling confusion into even more of a mess that it's impossible to decipher anything- triggers the hand spasm.
That uncontrollable flinching in your exhausted writing hand as it tries to rebel against anymore writing. You are forcing it to move faster-times ticking-but it refuses to obey,it can't keep up anymore.
You are physically FIGHTING with your OWN hand.
Everything that is written  forms this porridge lumpy line.
In fact, it's more of a wave than a sentence.

You become overwhelmed with this constant fear you're not going to finish and that failure is going to follow you in life. Now you're turning crimson and frustrated. Everything EXCEPT what you need in your head, is in your head.

Worst of all, more treacherous than any of the above in the RED ZONE, is those nearby workers who are all sitting calmly and completely relaxed. It's disgusting.
The smug looks on their faces, with the time to look around,casually sip their water bottles-watch you spluttering and struggling, turning as red as the zone itself. You soon convince yourself you're the ONLY one in the panic which just makes things that whole bucketful more terrifying.

So my advice
My handy tip for those who also experience the abysmal, excruciating woes of the RED ZONE? 

You're not alone. Simple as.

Although, pots luck, those nearest to you will be sitting cool and collected-know that there are lots of other RED ZONE sufferers in the room.
They'll be scattered around, equally baffled,equally tomato-faced.
You're all slipping and squirming together.
And don't you forget it.


  1. Hi Roma! Thanks for your comment on my blog! & that photo isn't my own photography but thanks for the heads up that I missed some credit :) I'm very impressed with your writing on your blog! My brain doesn't work like that!

  2. OMG I used to get that experiance!!! I felt it reading your post. That was pure genius!!! I'm ok now though because I get extra time, but your right. We are not alone and the best way to get through it is to keep calm otherwise you forget everything you where about to say and waste time trying to remember...or I did anyway. Hope your exams are going well :)

  3. I just finished my fall exams mid-December, and now with a new semester having begun, I won't have to worry about those again until late April .. but you, miss, have SUCH a way of putting things - you make it so real! I'm sure every single student in the world can relate and understand exactly what you're detailing here!! And it's STRESS!!!

    Keep writing, every day I read your posts, I smile. You're freakin' good!

    :) Rach