Most people get a little giddier at this time of year. The weather is warming up, the flowers are in bloom, and that Christmas break is so close you can almost taste the ham.

But when I say most people, I do not mean students. For us spring is not pleasant; it's stressful, as studying for exams is the only thing on our calendar.

From what I've gathered preparing for exams sounds similar to giving birth. It's slow, painful, and at the end of it you are left with a screaming child.

Okay, maybe not that last bit, but trying to study for exams is definitely uncomfortable. Reading through a semester full of notes is dizzying, and the nerves of the upcoming exams are enough to give you morning sickness.


But the worst part of the entire process is the big P word - procrastination.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe."

Personally, if I had six hours to study for an exam, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening my pencil. Not in preparation, but as a form of procrastination.

The tricky thing about procrastination is that sometimes it can be productive, just not in the right way.

When I delay studying I clean out old cupboards, pick up instruments I haven't played in years, and even start a scrapbook about my trip away last summer. So distracting yourself can definitely be positive - just not on your grade point average.

However, procrastination can also be a complete waste of time, especially if it occurs through digital mediums: Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, heck even Outlook Express all become extremely gripping when I should be studying.

These websites not only provide mind-numbing distraction, they also give students a platform to be miserable together.

When people post statuses like, "Haven't even started studying yet... I am SO going to fail this exam", not only do I feel their pain, I also feel a little bit better about my own situation, as knowing that someone somewhere may get a worse grade than me is heart-warming. Evil, but undeniably true.

In saying that, not all students seek solitude in other people's failures. Some find their comfort in the form of sugar, salt and fat.

During exam time even some of my healthiest friends give in to the temptation of eating crappy snacks when studying. I think students mainly use junk food as a form of distraction.

But for me, it's to prompt motivation. I've tried to enforce the "one page of reading per square of chocolate" rule. But that quickly turned into one paragraph per square, then sentence, then word, then my whole bar was gone along with any ounce of enthusiasm I once had.

When junk food inevitably fails, I try other techniques to keep my distracted brain remotely interested in what I am revising.

I've recorded myself reading information then listened to it before going to sleep, created pieces of art that feature my notes, and even sung essays whilst strumming along on the guitar.

Amazingly those techniques work like magic, which makes me wonder why I didn't study fine arts or music... never mind.

Some people highlight their notes with so much intensity that their desks become more fluorescent than a disco in the 80s.

Others stick notes on their walls in the hope of studying subconsciously. And some even decorate their bodies in notes, preparing to cheat, but actually learning everything they need to know through the writing process.

As well as having different study techniques, people also study at unique times. Some very rare humans rise at 6am and get their work done early.

However, the vast majority of students only begin when the sun goes down.
Just like werewolves, students come alive past midnight and howl into the silver glow of their laptops.

But staying up late and getting no sleep is actually not the smartest idea.

Not sleeping can reduce your mental ability by years. So as tempting as it may be to cram the night before your exam, getting a good night's sleep is actually more beneficial.

I've heard other useful study techniques are; taking regular breaks, going for walks, eating healthy brain food (like blueberries and eggs) and creating study groups. I can assure you I take many breaks and spend a lot of time in 'study groups', but I don't know how useful those methods are to my cause.

I know I've made myself seem like a useless student, but in between all the distractions, laziness, and chocolate, I somehow always manage to get a good amount of revision done.

I think overcoming obstacles and still managing to study shows the perseverance of the human spirit (or the lack of it in the first place).

Regardless, when the clock runs out on my final exam, I usually feel proud of my efforts. But that's not all I feel.

When exams are over and the long summer break has finally arrived, a lot of students surprisingly feel empty and depressed. In the movies people run out of school and throw their papers up in the air, but in reality, everyone stumbles out of the exam room looking dazed and confused.

I think this happens because students dedicate all their time and mental energy towards one single task. When that task abruptly ends, it leaves people feeling lost. But after a week of sunbathing and sinking your toes deep into the sand, that feeling quickly gets washed away.

I think the ocean metaphor can be extended to describe university as a whole, because the workload comes in waves.

Sometimes there are massive lulls and you can just relax, sleep in late, and do nothing. Then out of nowhere a giant set rolls in and if you are not prepared for it, you will get smashed.

Lincoln is famous for more than just his hat - he knew preparation is the key to all success.

Julie Cleaver is an AUT journalism student.