When I was still in high school, we call the act of exiting the room on the last day of exams as NIRVANA, or achievement of the state of liberation associated with Indian religions.

I took the third and FINAL part of my comprehensive examinations for graduate school this morning concerning my cognate subjects. Frankly, I was already at the point of saturation last night when I was dilly-dallying instead of reviewing hard. It was the strange feeling of already knowing something but unsure of whether you truly knew it — if that even made sense.

Awaiting execution - Plaid shirt, black skinny pants, 8-hole Doc Martens with buckle and leather straps, Givenchy duffle luggage bag - Quezon City, Philippines

Awaiting execution: Plaid button-down shirt, black skinny pants, 8-hole Doc Martens with buckle and leather straps, Givenchy duffle bag

I arrived in the university at exactly 8:00 AM, thirty minutes earlier than the scheduled time. I tried reading my notes but NOTHING was entering my brain. I tried to cram in few more topics the night before such as the Islamic challenge and Islamophobia, as well as rehashing my mental rehearsal over the Arab Spring and Iranian sanctions in case they appear, and good thing I did.

Out of the five subjects I’ve taken in Asian Studies, two were from the same professor, and the other three was from three different professors. But as my professor in one of the subjects passed away two years ago (rest in peace, Sir Abu…), I was anxious whether another professor would submit questions on his behalf. But when I received the test questions, there were none concerning Southeast Asia and I have anticipated three out of five questions, which was a good thing because we were to answer only three — Islamophobia was one of them! Hamdulillah!

CSSP Building Room 210 and view from the window - CSSP, UP Diliman, Philippines

CSSP Building Room 210 and view from the window

Unlike the past two examinations where we can cartwheel around the big conference room because there were barely five of us taking the exam, we took the exam in a much smaller one because it was a Thursday and there were normal classes. It was very intimate that I can even see the answers of my study partner, Raisa, in front of me; but as we have different sets of questions, it was no good. =P

Comprehensive exams - Final Answer

Comprehensive exams

My inscrutable writing that can give Egyptians' hieroglyphics a run for their money

My inscrutable writing that can give Egyptians’ hieroglyphics a run for their money

Four hours and fifteen minutes later, and with an already numb and shaking right hand, I was able to finish answering the lot. We then waited for the photocopy of the answers, along with the answers of the previous exams so that we can properly word-process them as I highly doubt the committee would be able to decipher my handwriting. I can’t even immediately recognize some of the words I have written. Thank God we were given this option, or I’ll be on an expressway towards flunking.

Bunch of siomai from Master Siomai - MRT Quezon Avenue, Philippines

Bunch of siomai from Master Siomai

Master Siomai and gulaman - MRT Quezon Avenue, Philippines

Master Siomai and gulaman

I was already very hungry but I did not want to eat a full meal (it was already way past lunch time) because I wanted to do so with Mon in the office. But as the last time I ate a full meal was around 5:30 AM, a fainting spell was no option. I had my mind fixed on eating something from MRT Quezon Avenue and I was never more happy to see Master Siomai.

One thing I’ve realized over this whole comprehensive exams experience was I would never want to undergo the same process again. The anticipation and excitement was nice, but the accompanying anxiousness brought about by the uncertainty over the questions was unbearable. When they say comprehensive, they really mean comprehensive. I hope I’d pass all three parts on a single take because I might faint if I were to hear I have to repeat even just one part. >_<

Now, I have two months not to think about anything before the exam results are out — but I have to first word-process my answers verbatim, including typos such as “the are” instead of “they are”. Well, NIRVANA, I LOVE YA!



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