Life in the Foodchain

Casual cake shopping in Chinatown

Pressure manifests itself in funny ways. A twitching vein in the temple here, a glazed expression there, snoozing over the cooker while boiling pasta (i.e my medic flatmate). Personally I sport crazy, towering bird’s nest hair and compulsively eat doughnuts.
Because the last two weeks have been insane.
Turns out I didn’t have enough time to blog. In fact I haven’t had much time for those little things we consider integral to a daily routine; normal things like eating or sleeping. I've been working crazily on my five essays with a dangerously looming deadline and scarily little time. It got to the point where I was working until the early hours of morning some nights in the study room, glaring at any unfortunate soul who happened to rustle a crisp packet.
In between all that, I had housing fairs to attend, new prep classes for my second year that had happily been timetabled to coincide with exam preparation (a smart move as ever by university administrators), and articles to write for the uni newspaper.
Two hours before I was due to hand in my essays the printer in the study room broke, so I found myself pelting down the street to Costcutter in my pyjamas to buy printer paper, praying that my little printer had enough ink to churn out 100 pages of waffle.
Thankfully it did. I barely had time to breathe before I had my Classical and Biblical exam to revise for on the Friday, leaving me with three days revision.
I practically lived in my dance tracksuit for comfiness whilst studying and didn’t brush my hair for a while. Nothing like exams to bring students out of the woodwork. The study room suddenly became packed with people you’ve never seen the whole year that you’ve lived at your residence. It became a fight to get a prime studying spot. Rival study gangs compete for territory. Pilgrimages to Tesco for sugary sustenance became hallowed occasions.

 This is how we usually drown our exam sorrows...1kg style.

As usual, our exams are scheduled in places on the other side of London that you never knew existed. Our Classical and Biblical exam was held in a building called The Troxy; a corporate venue that looked like a theatre with very pretty imitation Art Deco architecture and furnishings. It would have been lovely to see what I was writing though. Three hours spent squinting in dark yellow half-light was painful. It took me the whole weekend to recover.
There was no respite as I had Early Modern Literary Culture the following Tuesday. I found myself casually skimming through a history of early modern travel writing and chanting John Milton’s Paradise Lost like an absolute loon for the next two days, refusing to talk to anyone in case it broke my hypnotic state.
Tuesday dawned and Tom and I ventured off to Westminster this time, where the weather kindly condescended to violently rain on us before we were allowed in the exam venue. Standing with the crowds of English students always inspires mixed feelings. You have those people who smoothly proclaim that they’ve only done a couple of hours revision, when they’ve obviously been hard at it since last year. But you help but feel uplifted when you're reunited with friends that you haven’t seen for weeks. After another three hours of feverish scribbling with a much detested blotchy biro, I was free.
“You know Tom”, I said as we staggered out from the exam hall away from our ordeal, “I’ve got to stop living on the edge. It’s killing me.”
“I’ve already fallen off” Tom sighed with all the gravity of an eighty year old. 
In a cruel twist of fate, after repeatedly affirming that I was never going to eat another sugared doughnut in my life, and that I was embarking on a diet immediately after exams, I developed a painful ache in my jaw.
One day later I was in agony. I found an emergency dentist online and found myself, once more, circumnavigating a strange part of London. Two hours later I was nervously waiting on an imitation leather sofa three floors above street level in a tiny dentist’s surgery on Baker Street, while the receptionist’s dark eyes relentlessly bore into me over the top of a computer screen.
“I cannot believe this is happening” I muttered to myself.
Ten minutes later in the dentist’s chair I was told that a wisdom tooth had started to come through my gum and caused a painful abscess. “So you’ll need an X-ray and have the tooth taken out” the dentist jabbered.
I stared in disbelief. “I can’t have it out now”, I protested in Bridget Jones style; “I’ve got things to do this evening”. I was also acutely aware of the fact that there was no way in hell that I would permit myself to have a tooth extracted by a back street dentist; who looked ready to whip out a pair of gardening loppers or similar to do the job. I firmly asked for antibiotics instead.
I was duly despatched with two types of penicillin, albeit seriously overcharged for the overall fee of consultation and medicine. But it had to be done.
I was so infuriated with the whole week of stress that I rang Mum to vent my frustrations.
“I’m so proud of you!” Mum cried, several decibels louder than necessary so I was holding the phone at arm’s length. “Thank goodness you didn’t have the tooth taken out! You listen to me. I’m older and wiser. Your brothers and sisters coped with it. You’ll be over it in no time. Get straight in bed when you get home! And I’m ringing Annabelle this second to tell her too just in case you need her”. I seriously doubted whether my sister would hurtle through London to tend to me even if all my teeth had decided to fall out. I can just hear her now. “You’re such a hyperchondriac!” But it wasn't the time to tell Mum this was a fruitless mission.
So for the last two days I’ve taken Mum’s advice and stayed in bed. No celebrating as of yet. Penicillin, Nurofen and Listerine are my companions.
I should be better soon and hopefully writing my first fashion blog post, so I'll be writing much more regularly now I have some free time. Thank you so much for the lovely comments people have left recently on various posts, it means so much!