There is always time for a little bit of life between the big things

My weekend of taking time to live with an impending exam

I’m in the middle of studying for one of my final exams and reflecting upon how my study habits have developed while being abroad. The change has to do in part with the environment I’m in and the structure of the examination style.

In terms of environment, I’m in Norway! It’s beautiful and like everyone else, I must go outside when the weather is nice, which is a rare occasion leading up to summer. It is typical to drop what one is doing as soon as the sun breaks past the clouds and the rays hit the colorful trees.

When it comes to exams, they are far different than what I have experienced at UC Berkeley. We have an exam period. That means that at the end of the semester, students have one week off, referred to as Dead Week by many, where they study for all of their courses.  The following week is essentially finals week where the majority of finals take place. Some unfortunate souls have professors who insist they take finals before this week.

My experience in Norway has been a bit different. Everyone’s exams are at different times and take place over the course of what feels like two months. While I have just started my finals, some friends are finished and off traveling Europe.

I am used to staying at my desk or with friends trapped in a library for upwards of twelve hours leading up to an exam, but that hasn’t been the situation this weekend. I found myself taking time to attend the annual Culture and Language Festival for a couple of hours, taking an evening out with friends, and even walking around Sognsvann.

This afternoon was bittersweet. A Scottish friend returned my water bottle that I had long ago forgotten and some chocolate cake he had made. He leaves tomorrow and to say goodbye, we took a walk around Sognsvann, which is the lake outside of my home. The weather has been impressively beautiful and I’m so grateful to have spent the afternoon with him. The rays from the sun provided some much needed warmth to my soul. There was energy and such life all around the lake, from children learning to ride bikes to couples running through the woods. When the sun comes out, you can be guaranteed to see every Norwegian with an ice cream and today was no different.

We walked over to one of the decks floating over the water and soaked up the sun and friendship for a while. It was soothing to feel the rocking wooden deck beneath me. The wind blew my hair around my face and pushed the current quickly towards the edge of the bank. When we had our fill of sun and children’s laughter, we headed back to the trail. Before heading home, we picked some yellow and white snowflake flowers that sit on my desk now. We parted with two hugs and a reenactment of the Lion King and the ‘long live the king scene.’

I tell you this story to remind you that there is time to live your life between the big events that we work towards. Yes I have an exam in some hours, but there is time to take a walk around a lake with a friend I enjoy being with. There is always time for that.

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