Why are Exams Life's Milestones?

And, finally, exams are over.

It is weird, how life pauses for exams. These periods of intense revisions become milestones in life, acquiring a pseudo-importance. They stand, atop a glassy edifice, casting an umber shadow on the people milling beneath them.

We plan our lives around them. Meal times after completing 2 chapters on biochemistry. Afternoon naps after plowing through twenty pages of the financial accounting notes. A trip to Bali (or Batam, depending on your budget) to commemorate a successful slaying of the proverbial giant.

They mark an important phase in life - or, at least, appears to.

A director from StanChart recently advised me over an email:
Grades are not the most important, Uni is a time to expand your mind.
Exams. They're really puzzling phenomenon. Most people say that these papers aren't important and, yet, they buckle down to study when the clock chimes. I suppose that I'm one of these people, a Bourgeois tragedy perhaps. Maybe an irony, a paradox and a hypocrisy?

Is it fair or proper or expected that exams have such powers over us? Fair, not. Proper, not. And expected... unfortunately yes.

Source: Echo blog

In these moments, we're reduced to strings of matric numbers.