For more information on this project, click here.
I narrow my eyes at the clock on the wall, calculating how long it will take me to finish this exam paper. It’s only been half an hour and I’m about two thirds of the way through my multiple choice question booklet. I know I’m in for a long wait at the end. I sigh, but not too loudly. The air in the sports hall is the kind of cold that goes to your joints, making the hard seats feel harder, the desk more unforgiving on your elbows.
When I’ve finished the questions, gone through them once and gone through them again, I take a sideways glance at my classmates. Most still appear to be looking through the paper, but a couple are idly arranging their stationary, clearly as bored as I am. I almost feel guilty for not going through my paper for the fourth time. After all, I’m a second year student now. This is the first round of exams that count towards the final degree result. This is my final exam of the season, and the stress gave way to weariness a week ago. Weariness bred apathy. I just want this over with.
When we’re finally released from the sports hall, my friends and I have the usual natter about how the exam went, then I begin to walk home. I pull my coat around me, but the chill is still nipping at my fingers. It’s mid-February, and spring hasn’t even stuck its nose out yet. The flat is much warmer, but I dread the think of the heating bill. My housemate, Sara, greets me. She’s playing with the iPod touch her parents gave her for her birthday.
Sara’s the kind of girl who doesn’t have to worry about heating or electricity bills. That’s why the TV is still on, a commentary of Obama’s success in the Columbia and Maryland primaries running pointlessly in the background, while her earphones are still in. Her parents pick her up out of every scrape. I couldn’t believe it when she came home a couple of weeks ago with that iPod touch. It must have cost a fortune. I don’t know anyone else that has one. I’ll admit, I’m jealous.
I sit in my room and realize that I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t get rid of that exam season niggle, the one that tells you that you need to be revising and making notes. I could drown it out with alcohol and pizza, call my friends and organize a little end of exam party, but the truth is I’m broke. Instead, I wrap myself up a little warmer, put my coat back on, and take a little walk.
The town centre isn’t far away, and as I weave in and out of the pavement traffic, I realize that I don’t exactly know where I’m going. I think about going to McDonalds. As poor as I am, I can afford a big mac as an end of exam treat. I walk down the street and noticed the library. I’d forgotten about this place. I’d signed up for a card just after I first moved in, but never took anything out.
I want to kill time, and since I can’t afford new books, I wander inside. They don’t have a large collection, and I feel awkward walking past all the shelves, knowing I need to stop somewhere and take a proper look at what’s on offer.
An orange spine catches my eye. The white writing reminds me of a coca cola bottle. I pick it up, interested.