Friday, 30 March 2012

Motorsport, or: How to Survive the Thought of Six Exams

I'm at the end of my penultimate week of my second term of my second year of university. In this time, I've had a hell of a lot of ups and downs and a phenomenal amount of coursework and revision. Over the past couple of weeks, it's been pretty intensive. We've had written coursework, as well as exams crammed into the last two weeks. It's honestly felt that I've had no life outside of university. So, how do I still have a shred of sanity left? The answer: Motorsport.

I have to admit that in the week before the first F1 race in Australia I was going completely mad. I was writing up an essay for cognitive psychology, I was working on another essay for social psychology and I was writing a practical report for statistics. I was also revising for the two exams, and trying to plan my revision for the summer exams. The only thing that kept me from going mad was the thought of having a weekend off at home watching the race. I also think that the F1 race helped me massively with my organisation, and consequently I'm now finished with all of my coursework for the year. I know it seems incredibly random, but the reason for this is simply that to justify having my F1 weekends off, I had to finish my work early.

So, now that my coursework's over, I'm looking towards the six summer exams. It's going to be pretty intensive over April and May, but I'm not worried at all and I have a huge motivator. Namely, that in the summer my Dad and I will be going to the Grand Prix in Spa, as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Having motivators like this is a huge help I find. If I don't have anything to look forward to in the summer, the work seems kind of wearing and drags along. However, because of the thought of these trips I know I'm going to increase my preparation and work especially hard, just because it feels as though I'm working towards my holiday and my motorsport trips. Of course, the race weekends over this time will be of massive help, so that I actually remember to have some time off and relax a little. If I didn't have those weekends then I know I would just work almost 24/7 and end up more stressed and wound up than Massa when he's being told to let Alonso past...

With this in mind, let me give you an overview of the trips Dad and I will be taking this year. Firstly, we'll be going to the Goodwood Festival of Speed at the end of June and start of July. I've wanted to go to this for the past couple of years, but financial constraints have often been a bit of a barrier to this. However this year the festival have introduced a young person's ticket, which is half price of a full adult ticket. So, if you're under 21 and can prove this then you're allowed this cheaper entry. A big attraction of this festival is the sheer proximity to the cars and drivers. At other shows and events like Autosport or even F1 weekends you're fairly closed off from the cars and drivers, however at Goodwood everything's made more accessible and you are allowed just a bit closer to the elite world of motorsport. This is a particular attraction for me this year, as Red Bull Racing will be in attendance with both drivers of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, as well as Christian Horner and Adrian Newey. Hopefully soon we'll get the tickets booked up, and you can definitely expect an update when I've been to the race!

The second big trip this year is another F1 weekend away. Last year, Dad and I went to the Nurburgring to watch the German Grand Prix. It was the most amazing weekend I've ever had, and it still brings a smile to my face to remember it, and honestly I don't think you can have a more vivid memory than standing next to the circuit's fence with Schumacher's Mercedes passing by you at eye level! This year, we're heading to Spa Francorchamps, one of the most iconic races on the calendar. I booked the tickets last week, and we've got access to most of the circuit. We've also got camping booked, so we'll be staying just outside the circuit itself. If the atmosphere at the Nurburgring was anything to go by, it should be another amazing weekend!

So now that I've given you an overview of where we're going and what we're doing, it should give you a bit more of an idea why motorsport is such an important feature in my life. University work is hard, I don't care what anyone says. To some people, having nights out in clubs or bars is what they do to relax and (possibly) motivate themselves. Personally, I don't go anywhere near the archetypal student stuff. Instead, my motivation and relaxation comes from watching cars zoom round circuits, or occasionally driving in off road competitions myself. When I go on big trips to F1 races or to shows like Goodwood, it reminds me that the work I did throughout the year was worth the effort, just to get to this break. Hopefully there will be many more trips in the future!