Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Test


Beware the Pre-Exam Syndrome. A debilitating disease common among individuals of educational institutions. Pandemic during the time period of 2-3 months before a major exam.


Symptoms include:

Low-quality or (in extreme cases) non-existent social interactions.

Sleep deprivation stemming from late bedtimes compounded by early waking hours.

A lack of interest in sporting activities.

A lack of appetite.

A drop in personal hygiene (due to irregular/no showers).

Violent, unpredictable mood swings.


Basically, a loss of personality (Pre-Exam Syndrome is believed to be a precursor of Zombie-ism).

An eerie quiet engulfs the aforementioned institution of education stricken by this contagion. Every word uttered or heard is seen as a distraction –except if it is to do with the formula for an acidic buffer, diagram for cost-push inflation or naming of plant groups.


Of course, maybe I am exaggerating things just a bit (I should mention that a tendency to exaggerate is a symptom of Pre-Exam Syndrome).

After all, things aren’t that bad here in Kolej Mara Banting. People still eat food, play futsal and take their showers (mostly, at least).


But there are subtle signs of the disease as the IB exam nears.

All of a sudden, the surau suddenly becomes a favourite hangout. The Quran a favourite read. The jemaah for the 5 daily prayers spills out of the surau due to the abrupt exponential increase in number.

Reminders abound – by word of mouth and notes posted on bulletin boards – to “get closer to Allah in this trying of times”.


Alhamdulillah…it is a refreshing change.


But my question is: why wait for an exam for all this to happen?

Perhaps it is human nature that we only remember Him when times get hard. For it is human nature, after all, to forget.


That every breath is a blessing.

That Death is a constant and fickle companion.

That life can be hard

but His reminders are everywhere you look closely enough to find them.

That every blessing is an opportunity to be grateful.
And every tribulation is an opportunity to be patient.



That the true test of life lies not in the decisions made in the duration of an IB exam;

It is the decisions made in every second of the day.


This is all, of course, a reminder to myself as much as it is a reminder to anyone else.

I will be the first to admit that the closer I get to the exam, the closer to the surau I have been. That should not be the case: faith should not wait for the finals.


I must remember that even in the middle of a test, I must not forget to live.

Because the real test of life…is life itself.


A victim of Pre-Exam Syndrome 
(note the un-showered hair)



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