Slog

“Slog” in Old English means “killed” or “slayed”, which is quite a cool word. “Slayed”. Very Anglo-Saxon. The OED doesn’t think that the Old English word is related to the modern word, but I like both and it’s always nice to know some obscure, long-dead words.

The last couple of weeks have definitely been a slog (modern sense). Finishing fourth year was always going to be tough, but it was one of those things that’s just floating in the distance like an ominous cloud. The reality sort of hit around January that I was going to actually be a “real person” in a few months’ time, and that I should probably do something about that. I sent off a million job applications (I never exaggerate) and sat back and waited for real-person-ness to come and get me. When I finally got a job offer I sort of went “Ahhh” (that’s a sigh of relief, not a scream of panic – that’s “argh”) and forgot, a little bit, about the fact that I still needed to actually get a degree. But then the dreaded end of term started to loom; the emails about booking graduation tickets started coming in and lecturers started saying “Now, in the exam…” a lot more. Plus it rained a lot, which didn’t help the sense of a long, drawn-out impending doom. I had an extended study to write, an ancient language to learn and a modern language to brush up on. Not fun. Last Friday (was it only 9 days ago?) was the deadline for my essay, and Wednesday was the first exam of three. I am a simple creature and can’t do more than one piece of work at a time, so I only started revising for my Old English exam on the Saturday (let’s be honest, it was actually the Sunday), after I’d got rid of the extended study. Here, displayed with a poncey-arty-farty-I’m-really-bored-of-revision Instagram filter, is what Old English revision looks like:

It’s very pretty and everything, but all those strong and weak verbs are a pain to learn. On top of that I had to learn two other translations, a bucketload of vocab and some stuff about some other people’s translations of Beowulf. I know, I know, it’s fourth year, I should expect a lot of work, but all that condensed into four days was a tough one. Then straight off the back of that I had to start revision for my Spanish exam, which the lovely Examinations Office had very kindly scheduled for yesterday. That’s a three-hour exam. On a SATURDAY. A sunny Saturday afternoon. Oh, the humanity!

The problem with Spanish exams is that it’s quite hard to revise for them. The translations are unseen and could be about anything, so it’s complete pot luck. In order to be sure of knowing all the vocabulary that might come up you’d have to read and remember the entire dictionaries of both English and Spanish, which is obviously impossible, and there’s not much point making sure you know all your environmental issues words because the topic might be marmalade production in Seville or Spanish sovereign bonds, which it actually was. I don’t have a clue what sovereign bonds are, so you can imagine my delight when I discovered I’d be trying to explain them in a foreign language (also, the word “profligacy”. A quick look at Google Translate tells me I didn’t have a hope in hell of guessing the Spanish equivalent of that.). The other half of the exam was a bit less mysterious; we got to familiarise ourselves a week beforehand with the articles we’d be working with, and then we were asked to summarise one and write an essay about them, and the topic was sexist language and political correctness, so not too terrible for a linguistics student to have a bash at. Not sure everyone else felt quite the same about that bit.

Now it’s Sunday, and I’m meant to be starting revision for exam number three, which is on Thursday. My brain needs a mini-break though, so I’ve given myself the day off, something I might regret when I work out exactly how much reading I need to do before Thursday, but even though I only have four days left until freedom I might actually die if I don’t have a rest. Saturday exams are brutal. I can hear you thinking, poor ickle student thinking this is tough, wait until she gets a full-time job. Well, right now it’s fairly taxing, so you’re going to have to excuse me while I sit outside and eat cake and leftover crisps from last night’s Eurovision party.

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