Written by Jack Coombs
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of St Nic’s.
You may have read that title thinking it was perhaps a little sarcastic, as it can seem like an impossibility to a lot of people, however; I believe that if we prepare ourselves with a healthy approach to exam season, we can feel this way about it! Exam time is usually the most exhausting and stressful time of a students’ academic career, not too uncommonly resulting in: self-inflicted insomnia; a social life rivalling Yoda’s after he exiled himself to Dagobah; and a diet that could very well spur Jamie Oliver to start another food revolution. But that is why we should be excited.
Exam season presents us the perfect opportunity to be the calm in a storm of stress to our friends around us, bearing witness to the importance of our faith and the love of Jesus unto others, as well as giving us an opportunity to draw closer to God and understand his goodness. We can do this is in many ways.
Honouring both work and rest
Colossians 3:23-24 teaches us to work as if we are working for the Lord because it’s through him that we receive inheritance. Instead of working for our own achievements, we can work for God’s glory, with the anticipation of gaining qualifications so that we can fulfil God’s plan in our lives. However, equally as important, we should be resting ourselves. Often, we can feel guilty or lazy for taking a day off during exam period, so we throw any form of our Sabbath out the window. In Mark 2:27 Jesus teaches the Pharisees about what our mentality should be when thinking about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, therefore it should not be day that we toss away when we feel it becomes too much of burden and an annoyance standing between ourselves and our studies but a privilege and a benefit for us to enjoy and uphold. Why not encourage your non-Christian friends to take some time out to rest with you by watching a film or going for a walk?
Performing acts of kindness towards our friends
In Romans 12:9-13, Paul teaches us how to put love into action by honouring other above ourselves and practicing hospitality. This doesn’t have to stop during exams but instead invites offers new opportunities to serve our friends and housemates. Cooking extra food for your housemates so that they can have a hearty meal after coming home from a long day at the library is a great, and easy, way to make them feel appreciated and help relieve the stress of shopping and cooking. Kitchens are sadly too often the victims of neglect during exams so taking 30 minutes out of your day to give it a clean and do a bit of washing up is also a fantastic way to bless your housemates. Writing a note of encouragement and leaving it in your friends’ bag or your housemates’ desk is a sure way to leave a smile on their and make them feel more at ease.
Relying on God
It’s also a great time of year to challenge ourselves to rely on God’s strength and pray for his Spirit to bring us peace. From the wise words of Proverbs 3:5-6, we need to learn to wholly trust in God and not ourselves. When I was studying for GCSE’s I remember deciding not to go to church or anything related because I saw studying as my priority and thought that I could put God on pause and once the stressful period was over, press play again and resume with normal life. God calls us to do the opposite and when our anxiety’s increase we should lean into him further trusting that he will be there alongside us in our times of trouble. There will be a short daily devotional posted on the Facebook during exam period going through Philippians to help us to focus the beginning of each day on Him, so look out for them!
This is not to say that exam season won’t still be a grim time of year for most, but hopefully these points will remind us of the exciting opportunities this period can also hold.