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5 Stages of death AKA pre-examination-stress-disorder

March 2, 2011

So last year during my finals I was sitting there in front of a big stack of books thinking about the five stages of death/grief.  No it wasn’t on my syllabus and it wouldn’t be on any of the exams I don’t know why I was thinking about it.  Anyway, using my time oh-so-productively, I managed to turn the 5 stages of death framework into the 5 stages of pre-examination-stress-disorder (yes I just made up my own disorder).  Students, you may (or may not) relate to this:

Stage 1. Denial – The exams are a whole 2 weeks away!  That’s a lot of time to learn everything I was meant to have learnt this year.  I’m very prepared.  Yes of course I’m prepared, and plus 2 weeks is more than sufficient time to prepare even if I wasn’t prepared.  See all of those other crazy students studying day and night in the library?  They’re all stupid; we have a whole 2 weeks!!!

Stage 2. Anger – Why is this happening to me?!  Stupid exams!  Couldn’t they give us more notice?  They could have given us the examination timetable a year in advance, which would have helped.  I blame the university.  Idiots!  Why couldn’t I have taken my lazy ass down to the library and studied night and day?!  GRRRRRR! 😡

Stage 3. Bargaining – Dear God, if you help me to pass these exams I will give my entire life savings to starving people.  I’ll make  them build prayer rooms throughout the campus!  Just help me pass these exams please please please!

Stage 4. Depression – I’m doomed.  Nothing I will do now will save me; there is no hope at all.  I’m utterly screwed; failure is just around the corner.  I’ll fail and get kicked out and then I’ll spend life picking up litter from the street for a living.  Why don’t I have a brain?  I’m the dumbest person in the world and life is a disaster. 

Stage 5. Acceptance – Oh hello exam.  Well I’ve read the book, and the journals and I’ve tried reading the lecture notes but I couldn’t read my own handwriting.  So here I am, still alive.  There’s no way I can avoid you I’ll just have to do you and see if we can make this relationship work.  Hopefully afterwards you’ll award me enough marks to pass with the highest grade.  Ok ok fine, second highest grade?  Ready, set, go!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2011 7:37 pm

    # 3 been there done that, “Oh please God, I’ll give up weed and be a good person, I’ll be honest and give money to people who need it….Just this once Puleeeze.” 🙂

  2. March 2, 2011 9:37 pm

    i like how ur able to take ur knowledge and apply it to ur life! That is so smart of u! I wish i could do that with anything i learn?

  3. March 5, 2011 8:13 am

    Up to stage 4 I’m with you. I just never get to the acceptance part. When they hand out the exams my head just goes like ‘AAAAAAAAAAARGH’ and occasionally ‘Oh, I know this! This is.. oh no.. NOOOO!’
    It is strange though how stage 4 doesn’t happen until I actually begin studying.
    Only when I’m flicking through the pages the night before an exam I realise ‘there isno hope’. 😛

    • March 8, 2011 1:32 am

      Yep stage 4 starts for me when I begin studying the night before 😛 , and stage 5 comes when I’ve opened up the exam paper; and stage one is just bliss 😀

  4. March 7, 2011 5:59 am

    Wow! You put it so well. I thought somebody wrote the story of my life. 🙂


  5. March 15, 2011 10:40 am

    Yet I go through these 5 stages various times each year — almost like I won’t learn :(. I got an exam in two weeks… I might probably start preppin’ today. I’m with you all the way to the acceptance part… problem is that the exam doesn’t always think the same way :P. She’s not always there to make it work, sometimes she’s just waiting to get it over with and those times?!? Welp… Those times I’m screwed :P. Not this time though… *hitting the books*

  6. March 16, 2011 9:23 pm

    Started studying yet? I think everybody has a different ‘acceptance’ stage, it’s varied for me over the years lol but the first 4 stages are always the same :mrgreen: good luck with the revision 😀

  7. May 12, 2011 2:09 pm

    Haha very good. I could probably associate that 5 stage plan with most things I dread in life. I have an exam next week – can’t feel any pressure yet so killing time on here!

    • May 12, 2011 6:35 pm

      Yep it really does work with most things in life doesn’t it 🙂 good luck with the exam I’m sure you’ll do well!

  8. Mags permalink
    October 15, 2012 9:07 am

    I’m like 2 days away from my GRE, which is supposed to change my life for good (hopefully for the better, fingers crossed 8-)” and I’m going through the stages 2-4 in 5-min intervals.. I think I’m losing it lol
    So, yeah, I was trying to find out if how I’m feeling has any medical name, and there I was led to your blog :p yayy, PESD does exist!!! haha, your name will go down in the medical history. Anyways, off to my studies and hope you did well on your exams!

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