This blog post depicts the events between April 29th and May 11th. I again apologize for the post being a little late.
Classes have now officially ended, and we are now on a two week “revision” period before finals. This spans from April 28th through May 11th and is supposed to give us time to study, or as it is called, “revise,” before our final exams. Many people decide to travel the first week and study the second week. Since I had a final on the very first day of exams, Saturday, May 12th, I studied for both weeks.
It was a little strange to have two weeks of no class. At the beginning, I was a little bored and did not know what to do, other than study. The weather has been getting better; it is no longer freezing anymore, and the flowers and trees had finally started to bloom! My first final is Scottish Music, which contains a lot of historical information that I had to memorize. I started to study for it on the first Monday of revision week. I have made a ritual of going to the student union coffee shop and studying in the mornings.
The large event that takes place during revision week is called May Dip. It is a tradition at St Andrews that occurs on May 1st of every year. May Dip is where students run into the North Sea at 4 in the morning in order to “wash away academic sins.” Academic sins include stepping on the stones that say “PH” for Patrick Hamilton, a Martyr who was burned at the stake in St Andrews, outside of the cathedral. If you step on the stones, it is said that you will fail all of your final exams. Many students stay up all night and then run into the sea, but my friends and I elected to get up at 3 am instead and at least get some rest. I am not a fan of getting up early, but it was worth it for the experience and the gorgeous sunrise! We were lucky that it was sunny, but it was very cold. Many people go fully into the sea in their bathing suits, but I went up to my knees and decided to go no further. After that, some of my friends stayed, but me and another friend ran back to go to sleep again before breakfast. It was quite a quiet day after that. May Dip was definitely a one-time experience, but I am glad that I got to join in.
A couple of days later, I ended up going on a surprise trip to London. My high-school friend from home decided to do a summer abroad to Italy and came a couple of days early to explore London. Since I was close by, I went up to London for two days to see her. Since I had already been to London, we decided to go see some sights that I had not seen yet. We took a day tour to Windsor Castle (ahead of Harry and Meghan’s wedding), Bath, and Stonehenge. It was very cool to get to see Windsor Castle before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding and we were able to go into St. George’s Chapel where they got married. Bath is a city outside of London, where we got to see the baths that the Roman’s created thousands of years ago. We ended the tour in Stonehenge, which was good to see but still a mystery as to how and why the stones are arranged the way they are. I also had my first hostel experience in London. The hostel we stayed in was fine and basically felt like a giant dorm, complete with bunk beds. I met other people from Spain and France and it was interesting to talk to them for a bit.
The second revision week consisted of me essentially studying very hard every day of the week. I became a regular at the student union coffee shop, ordering the same pot of tea for 7 days in a row.
Revision week presented me with new and unexpected challenges. I am used to only getting about 2 days at Whitman to study for finals, where as I got two weeks at St Andrews. While I appreciated the long amount of time and the flexibility, it made it very easy to get distracted. My finals were a bit spread out as well, so I only focused on certain topics during revision week. Normally, I would take the entire time to study for finals, but I took a risk and traveled and participated in May Dip instead. Participating in these activities was a bit stress-inducing to me, as I like to feel prepared for finals and any type of distraction worries me. I am proud that I was able to have a little bit of fun during finals season, which is something that I have struggled with in the past.