Midterms Season

Kathleen Mackey, Editor-in-Chief

Midterms season is, unfortunately, upon us. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I personally find midterms to be even worse than finals week. Stay with me here. 

With finals week, classes are over, so you can devote the whole week to exams, projects and papers. You fully anticipate it coming and are rewarded with a nice long break afterwards. Midterms, however, are a different ballgame. 

You think everything’s going completely fine. You’re riding the wave of the first few weeks of classes with a few light assignments trickling in. You start to get a little too comfortable with the seemingly gradual start to the semester until bam! Suddenly you have exams, projects and papers coming at you out of nowhere. 

Before you know it, you have to read a month’s worth of textbook chapters in a matter of days. (Not that I know this from experience or anything.) Midterms season is always a wake-up call, telling you that the semester is in full swing and that it’s time to kick things into high gear. But sometimes, it feels like it’s too late to do the preparation that you probably should’ve started two weeks earlier. I can be the first to attest to that. 

Being a senior, I wish I could say that I’ve mastered the art of acing midterms and finals. But, I can say that I’ve learned some survival tips over the years that my freshman-year self definitely could have used. 

The most essential advice I can offer to any first-year college student is to start studying as early as possible. The secret to success and effectively retaining information is taking time each day to study in small increments. Yes, I know, you hear your professors say this in class all the time, and you nod along in agreement even though you secretly plan on procrastinating your way through the semester. But, news flash! Your professors are right. 

While midterms are in full swing, it’s not too late to take this advice into account for finals week. There have been a handful of semesters in the past where I’ve tried to develop a studying schedule and, oftentimes, it has failed. It becomes far too easy to skip a night and procrastinate until suddenly your exam is just two days away. 

This semester, however, I’m trying to combat senioritis and improve my study habits as much as I can, and starting early has definitely paid off. As someone who works better under pressure, I found it hard at first to find the motivation to study without a quickly approaching deadline hanging over my head. But the more I’ve pushed myself, the more it’s become a part of my routine, and I’ve found myself more at ease going into the exam. 

Another important habit I’ve worked on improving is using my days as efficiently as possible. This might not be easy for everyone, as we all have completely different schedules. But if you’re like me and don’t have morning classes, it can be incredibly tempting to sleep in every day.

As a night owl, I’ve become easily accustomed to being most productive at night, staying up until 2, sometimes 3 a.m. But I’ve realized that maintaining this lifestyle isn’t the best way to prepare for adult life post-graduation. Instead, I now try to be my most productive self during the day, specifically in the mornings.

Not only do I find myself studying more effectively during the day, but I can also go to sleep at a more reasonable hour and sometimes even get a full night’s rest. What a concept! 

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember during this time of the semester is that you are human. While academics should always be a top priority for a college student, don’t let it become your only priority. It’s always important to put yourself first and keep your well-being in check. 

It’s OK to take time to relax and unwind from time to time. I often feel guilty for taking time to socialize or recharge when I know that time could be used for studying. But it’s all about a healthy balance. While these four years are immensely important for your future, they’re also important for making lifelong memories and focusing on personal growth.  

If you’re in your freshman year facing midterms for the first time, don’t fret. Well, you can fret a little bit because some pressure is positive and will push you to do your best. But don’t let it consume you. It’s OK if the scores don’t always go in your favor. Your intelligence and worth are not determined by As and GPAs.