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SCHOOL STORIES I have survived the last few weeks of school: 12/2, which is supposed to be the shortest and most stressful course semester of high school. It was indeed extremely short (hello Corona …) and quite stressful, but also surprising in many ways.
Final spurt: one last time I was able to collect points before the final exams. Of course, at the beginning of 12/2 (a term for the fourth and last course semester of the upper school), I was more than motivated to bring out the best in myself. It turned out to be difficult to maintain this motivation during the exam phase, but somehow I fought my way through the mountain of tasks and learning without any major losses (the only exception here was my economics exam). Only now, after grades have ended (never again school grades!), do I allow myself to become more relaxed about completing school assignments again.
The art of getting enough grades
But back to the beginning. There are two types of teachers:
- those who go hard-core on all tests right at the beginning of 12/2 to prevent papers from piling up in the exam period (this applies to about 1/5 of all teachers) and
- those who stubbornly work through their lessons, no matter how many papers are written in the other subjects.
Personally, I actually prefer the former, because that way you have all the grades you need done quickly and don’t get stressed out at the end of the semester.
What many people don’t know is that in 12/2 the pre-final examinations in all subjects take over 200 minutes. This is a frightening fact, which leads to numerous missed lessons in other subjects. We also had the misfortune that the Corona pandemic only made two-room teaching possible, i.e. only a certain number of students were allowed in one room, so that the teacher was effectively teaching in two rooms at the same time. This only made it more difficult to progress with the material.
In February, a student in our year group also fell ill with the British variant of the virus. The consequence was a 10-day quarantine including distance learning for the entire class – during the exam period.
Study, eat, sleep
The exam schedule of 12/2 was then completely reorganised – after all, time was of the essence. There were only 3 weeks left until the Easter holidays and the majority of the grades had to be ready by then. You can imagine how stressful that was. Now it an advantage if the teacher already had the necessary grades together. Study, eat, sleep – that was my daily routine. I was lucky that some of my hobbies were cancelled because of Corona.
But even these three weeks passed and soon the Easter holidays and my 18th birthday arrived. It was a great present that I got my own camera. But the fact that I was allowed to drive a car on my own now that I was of age was the cherry on top of the cream cake and made my everyday life a lot easier. So I started the last 3 weeks of school in a positive mood. Relieved that there would be no more grades, school was halfway fun again.
I was surprised with my report marks for 12/2. Apart from one subject, in which I had fallen off due to a strange exam, I had maintained or even improved in all subjects. My hard work had paid off and rewarded me with dizzyingly high scores in quite a few subjects.
Final phase of 12/2
Many teachers now proceeded to have all those who would not have an exam in the respective subject study for their exams. So a space of self-study was offered parallel to the classes. And indeed, a large number of students took advantage of this offer – not, as one might think, to escape the lessons. But really to learn. The last few days, you could see the biology examiners running around everywhere with their study books. They have to master a good 200 pages of material in their heads. I know why I decided against biology back then.
I myself was intensively involved with physics throughout 12/2. I had every intention of being good at it. After all, I want to study this subject later. For maths and English, I couldn’t learn much – it’s do or die (poetically speaking). Only German, I thought, I should perhaps take another look at. ……
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Bye, bye, school lessons!
Meanwhile, the last day of 12/2 is almost over. The chaos week or “action week” is officially over – 5 days of dressing up, little motivation and thoughts circling around the imminent Abitur. We walk two laps around our colourful school – wearing masks, of course. Cheers of younger students from the school building reach our ears, even my maths teacher waves out of the window. We take a last group photo and listen to a short speech, which can be summarised as follows: “And I would like to thank you all. These have been, I think, the coolest 12 years I’ve had so far.”
After the final applause, I first have to collect myself. Never again will we sit together in classrooms and listen to the teachers’ lectures – although: our physics teacher has offered to give us extra practice lessons before the exams next week. And to sleep on such an offer would be silly. Most of the other students already have their first exam on Monday, so they shouldn’t push it too far with the celebrating – Corona sets its limits, after all.
And me? I still can’t get my thoughts in order. I probably won’t realise life after school – after 12/2 – until I’ve finished my written exams. After that, I’ll be left with memories of a strange and nerve-wracking time (besides the probably not so stressful oral exam), and of course my learning overviews – which I’ll probably still be working on for my studies, but also for this blog.
To be continued …
You want to know how I felt about the written exams? You can find the rest of the story about 12/2 here.