This past semester, for the first time, I surprisingly had no exams at all. Instead I had final projects due before or during the exam period. While I have drawn some ire from friends about it, especially if they're from more exam intensive programs, it doesn't exactly cut me a break. Instead, I have final projects which can be just as hard, if not harder than the actual exams. Rather than study to be prepared for an exam, you actually have to BE ready on the day of and harder still, everything has to either be perfect and/or work. This could range from a final essay to an interactive programming project that take A LOT of time to develop, especially when you don't exactly know what you're doing and have to figure things out as you go alone, like I am most of the time.
In my program of New Media, we have something called "critiques", or as I call them "crits", which are basically final projects where you present your project in front of the professor and usually the class as well. We have several of these all year, but our final critiques at the end of the semester are really what causes the most stress since they are extremely demanding and we have to make EVERYTHING work, even though we're using experimental technology and processes. It may not sound hard to those unfamiliar with it all, but trust me, it can get much harder than an exam ever could be at times since everything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst times. Myself and my classmates have horror stories about our projects just suddenly not working right before its due, or there's an inexplicable glitch that we don't know how to fix or have to pull all-nighters to fix hours before the presentation. Even the most basic projects can become exceptionally stressful and make studying for an exam seem like a cakewalk.
I will say one thing though, the end result is usually much more fun and satisfying than studying for an exam.
See you next comic! :)
P.S. Anime North is this weekend! I'm thinking of posting some pictures of the convention online after it's over. To see them, be sure to join the Spark Comics Facebook Fan Page!