It is exam season again for me. I am delaying my (dreaded) revision by writing this reflection. I am exhausted.
This exhaustion is an empty of one’s soul that stems out of futile labor—the understanding that what one does is completely worthless, but to be forced to do it.
There is a lot to analyze here—the personal’s relationship to the collective; the individual vs. society; what is truly valuable and meaningful in life—but I am too tired to write about them. And I’d be just repeating old cliches if I do.
Conclusion:: You have to work your ass off for academic exams, even if you don’t believe in them. Because we don’t need to believe ourselves; we only need Others to believe for it necessary for us to believe. (This is one of Zizek’s favorite anecdotes:: Niels Bohr hangs a horseshoe in front of his house—a sign of superstition, to ward evil spirits away. His friend visits him and asks: “I though you are a scientist. Do you believe in these superstitious crap?” Bohr’s answer: “No. Of course not. But I’m told that it works even if you don’t believe in it.”) That is the story of examinations. It is not to say that it cannot measure a person—the kind of “You are more than a scorecard!” speak is bullshit: most tests can really measure some thing. The problem is, “Is this what I want to spend my life on?”—perhaps not! Still, it works even if you don’t believe in it. Getting a good academic record works even if it is bullshit. Don’t we operate on lies anyway?
Moral: There are good reasons to despise exams; but there are better reasons to work your ass off to get a good grade. We are thrown into a world; if you cannot change it, we can at least try our best with their rules (so we can operate on our own later).