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March 20, 2011

MIDTERMS: A Quick Post on Survival

While most other students at Case were pulling their hair out, biting their nails, and generally studying themselves into a coma prior to spring break, I had the joy that is two exams and a paper directly following spring break. This is not to mention the fact that I am applying for several different positions, groups, and activities on campus, am preparing for Greek Week, and just finished with our chapter's initiation. All of this, while still trying to maintain what little social time I have left.

Needless to say, this can get a little stressful. I'm running on a lot less sleep than I would like, I'm not entirely sure I can remember all of the things I've applied for, and generally speaking I would like nothing more than a nap and maybe a massage.

All that being said, however, there are some ways to ensure your survival during the maelstrom that midterms can be. While everyone else is running themselves ragged, you'll have something keeping your sanity in place, and trust me, that makes all the difference. Here are a few quick tips, before I get back to finishing that paper:

1) You'll probably know your midterm schedule beforehand, so plan ahead. Make sure you know which chapters will be covered on the exam, and give yourself plenty of time to get cracking on that paper. Procrastination may work out for your average homework assignments, but when an exam can be a hefty chunk of your grade, you really want to stay on top of it. Which leads me to #2...

2) Make a study schedule. Give yourself time every day to prepare for the exams you have coming up. It's no secret that studying a little each day works way better than cramming, so make sure you have time by writing it all down. This works for papers, too. Give yourself a goal for each day, whether that be writing a couple pages, a couple hundred words, or the first part of your thesis.

3) Prioritize (you had to know this was coming). Fact of the matter is, you know which exams will be easy for you. Some of them will test your sanity, but some you could probably ace in your sleep. Don't get complacent and neglect easier exams, but make sure that your focus is on the tests that will be more difficult, or the ones that will affect an important grade.

4) Make time for eating, sleeping, and exercising. This is the easiest thing to let go of during midterms. My diet in past years has consisted of Oreos, microwave burritos, and Goldfish. Not exactly the breakfast of champions. If you eat better, get sleep, and keep up your activity level, you will probably do better on your exam than if you neglect your hunger, sleep deprivation, and general well-being just so you can study for a few extra hours. So not worth it.

5) Relax. One midterm does not determine your ultimate success in the class, in college, or in life. You will be fine, even if you don't do as well as you would like to. Seriously. Life goes on.

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