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Student Reflections

Finishing Up My Last Exam: Now What?

Carolina Ramos
June 14, 2019

After a semester full of adventure, new discoveries, and unforgettable moments, I found myself going to take my last exam in Australia. Although I was excited to feel like I had finished my studies and was done with finals, I did not feel the same relief as I usually do when the semester is over. Partially, I think this was due to the fact that I only had one final during exam period and I had twelve days to study for it, so I kind of felt like I was already done with university for the semester. However, I think I truly did not feel the end-of-semester relief because taking this exam meant that I was one step closer to finishing my time in Australia and that this experience would be over.

It is worthwhile to discuss how the final exams are conducted at Swinburne University, as well as in many other universities in Australia, because it is very different from how my final exams were at Northeastern. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I had to take the final exam at the Marvel Stadium, which is a huge entertaining grounds for sports and shows. When I arrived at the venue, I followed signs directing me towards which room I was supposed to go to, and we were only allowed to go towards the room half an hour before the exam time. As we were waiting, we could peek inside the stadium and admire its extravagant size. Once it was time to take the test, we all headed towards the room and found our place in our preassigned, numbered tables. The room was a converted VIP lounge, and the glass windows allowed for a nice view of the stadium. Screens around the room displayed the time and exactly at 2 pm one of the proctors approached the stand and used a microphone to give instructions to the entire room. There were around 200 people taking exams in the same room, and not everyone was taking the same exam. After giving out the instructions, we had 10 minutes of reading period where we were allowed to look through the exam but not write on it. Proctors came around the room checking our IDs and once the 10 minutes were up, we then had two hours to complete the test. No one is allowed to leave the room for the first 30 minutes of the test or the last 15 minutes. If one did want to leave prior to the end, they had to raise their hand and ask for permission to leave and could not come back after. There were other rules such as the fact that we could only have plastic water bottles without any labels on them, we could not wear watches, and all of our belongings had to strictly be kept underneath our seats. During the test, the five proctors present would walk up and down the rows of students to make sure that no one was cheating. This was certainly a very different experience from other final exams I have taken in the United States, so I was happy that my friends had told me what to expect so that I was prepared for such a serious and formal environment.

Now that I write this being done with university in Australia, I feel grateful to still have a few weeks to enjoy in this country. I cannot imagine having to leave right away after I finished my exams without being able to enjoy the city for a bit longer. I know that it can be scary to take the step to go study abroad, and it can seem like an impossible challenge. However, when I look back at my experience, I am beyond grateful. One thing that I started doing this year, partially because I knew I was coming to Australia, was do a One Second Everyday Video using an app. This is something that literally does not take more than 1 minute per day to do, and at the end you get to have a really nice video with little snippets of your life. I have loved looking back at my video, and it brings back incredible memories. For anyone that has doubts about studying abroad, I think it is an opportunity that cannot be passed on and I would recommend it to everybody. I am so grateful that I have had this unforgettable experience and wish that for everyone.

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