Although the Cambridge study abroad program doesn't have an examination period for study abroad students (lucky people), I definitely still had finals this semester. It was, however, the most relaxed, unstressful finals week I've ever had since going to uni. I still studied, of course, but with only two finals and two weeks to study for them, I didn't feel pressed for time in any way. On top of that, Edinburgh posts old exams online (solutions not included).
Taking my fluids mechanics final, I felt something I haven't felt in ages. Confident. Usually during finals at Caltech, I'm constantly getting a feeling of dread everytime I turn the page. Reading each problem, I feel my mind drawing a complete blank as I try frantically to write something down that will hopefully make some sense and earn me at least partial credit. It's no wonder after a few terms at Caltech, for most of us our self confidence takes a pretty hard hit. It was completely different here though. Granted I didn't know the answers to *everything*, but it was definitely the best I felt during and after a final exam than I have for so long. It's sounds so silly, but I'm not kidding, I really did feel good about myself afterward. That's probably one of the best things I'll take away from studying abroad- a fresh perspective. As techers, we all really need to take time once in a while to step back and realize how truly challenging Caltech is, and that as much as we like to dismiss it, we actually *are* smart. It was a pleasant ego boost that was most certainly needed.
Although the semester is over, I'm not going home immediately. Starting tomorrow (December 18) I'll be in Paris with two other techers. I've been looking forward to this trip ALL semester. Yayyyyy so excited!! :D