The Curse of The Last-Paper Syndrome

Warning: The following actions documented below have been performed by a “professional exam taker”. Please do not try this at home. Viewer discretion advised.


Last paper syndrome: “A phenomenon wherein you know that you still have your last test tomorrow but your brain is already in vacation mode and you cannot concentrate on studying.” (Source: Reddit)

Date: A random Thursday in April

It is 3.06 pm at the point of writing. I… have my final exam to sit for tomorrow at 1 pm sharp, but there’s one funny little problem – I am doing the complete opposite of what I am supposed to be doing right now.

Instead, here I am finding myself sitting aimlessly at my desk, staring dreamily at the world outside my window and dreading to flip over my lecture notes one more time. The summer weather and lively outdoor vibes are way too tempting. I very much rather be wandering around the streets or the local park filled with curiosity about the places I could stumble across, or perhaps be sitting down for a nice warm meal outside with a good friend now that lockdown has been (somewhat) lifted, or even… I can’t believe that I am admitting this… cleaning my room now appears to be a more entertaining thing to do instead of bullying my brain into revising important pieces of information that would determine how well I do tomorrow!

And it struck upon me – April has been a long-ongoing mental war, and it sure is a brutal one. It is a constant struggle between two parties that couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed. It is and has been a summation of various vicious battles between my rational, composed, and, well… responsible persona against my other half. And this peculiar other half is simply that one happy-go-lucky and downright chaotic character who, for some inexplicable reason, has a non-existent sense of urgency, which surfaces particularly when important dates and events are around the corner.

But who’s actually winning?

“You know what,” I thought to myself, “maybe it is not about trying to annihilate one side of the spectrum. After all, we wouldn’t have a balanced equation after that. All that we really just need, is to come to a truce.” And by “truce”, I meant – try to do short bursts of work for 25 minutes and then taking several mini-breaks in between each interval. The classic and ever-popular Pomodoro Technique, this should be easy. Now, just do it!

Upon successfully negotiating with myself on this deal, I set out to work. I skimmed through a few more equations and keywords, flipped through a few more lecture slides. And not too long after… I saw myself falling into the strangest spell.

My eyelids felt heavy. I want to have a short nap. No, I need it right now!

I felt a random yet unavoidable urge to make myself a cup of tea (and I don’t usually drink tea?).

Hang on, the study music isn’t motivating enough!

Wait, why am I checking Google Maps?

And so on. I eventually paused and looked up to check the clock… 8.23 pm. Dang it, that time is gone forever!

The author’s ending notes

Whoops, I guess you’ve gotten your cliff-hanger ending. Upon realising what she has done to herself (which is, basically, self-sabotage at its very best), the author’s panic monster has finally been awakened and now she is doing whatever she can to make up for the lost revision time that is now gone forever.

Will she survive, or will she be at the mercy of the exam questions? Oh dear, I have absolutely no clue at the moment. Only time can tell.

Please stay on top of your work, dear reader (and wish the poor soul luck).

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