Taking them one coffee at a time.
How is it already October? It feels like frosh week was only a week ago. By now you have probably – hopefully - found out where all of your classes are, adjusted to the work load and are generally having the greatest time of your life. Just when it seems like you’re starting to get the hang of managing everything- weekly assignments, readings, lab reports, paper proposals then final draft- your prof utters the word that nobody likes hearing: midterms. What are midterms? Well, they’re something that is going to take over your life. I’m not trying to scare you but hopefully my guide to surviving midterms will do the trick and help you stay on top of your game.
Don’t panic. This is one of the worst things you can do. When you panic, you send yourself into a frenzy and then you cannot get any work done. So, what can you do to keep track of everything you must do? Time management is the key to success. I recommend getting a big calendar to put up in your room so that you can write in all of your deadlines and due dates. That way, every time you walk into your room you get a visual representation of your month ahead. If that isn’t your thing, maybe get an agenda and write down everything. You’d be surprised how much this helps. Once you have everything written down, it’s easier to plan how you’re going to accomplish all of this work.
Nutrition is something you should take very seriously around midterm season. I’m really not trying to sound like mom or dad but your brain is going to be working hard so you need to keep it properly fueled. Eat your veggies. As good as those french fries at meal hall are, now and then sneak some veggies onto your plate. Nutrition is also important because you’re going to be stressing yourself out. With stress you are making yourself susceptible to colds and one of the ways to combat nasty germs is to keep your body healthy. Oranges are great for this and drink lots and lots of water. Speaking of stress, you cannot avoid getting stressed out during this time; it’s natural. When you’re to the point of tears and you’re thinking of dropping out, just take a deep breath and go for a walk, or to the gym, or call someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Anything that will take your mind off the work for about an hour will help you realize you’re going to be okay.
When midterms are in full swing, so is your social life. On the weekends it’s super tempting to go out. Even in the middle of the week when Wing Night rolls around it’s hard to say no. I get it, trust me. You’ll get bad FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m not saying hide in your room and only study all the time but if you have a big midterm that you need to be prepared for on a Thursday and your friends are going out on a Wednesday, your best interest would be to stay in and grind. Wing Night isn’t going anywhere. It’s just one night of many and it will be waiting for you all year round. You’ll feel a lot better getting a good grade than getting a hangover.
Sleep. Sleep is very important during midterm season. I know it will seem like a good idea to stay up all night studying. You will think you’re doing yourself a favour by attempting to cram in all that knowledge but you’re not. How do you expect your brain to function properly without any sleep? Coffee can only do so much. Getting a full night’s rest the night before a midterm is going to serve you well. Don’t stay up until 3 am binge-watching Netflix. The show will still be there once midterms are done.
Angus L. MacDonald is going to become your new best friend. I’m talking about the library. It might seem like a scary, intimidating place but everyone in there is in the same sinking boat of stress. Don’t try to kid yourself into thinking you can study in your bed with a TV show playing in the background. It took me two full years of university to realize that the best place to get work done is in the library. It truly is a life saver.
Last but certainly not least, you might fail a midterm. You read that right. I’m supposed to be writing about how to survive. It doesn’t matter how much of these key survival guide tactics you use, you still might fail. That’s okay. Failing a midterm doesn’t make you a failure. University is a very big adjustment from high school and it takes a bit of time to get into the groove of university life. Failing a midterm is not going to make or break your university career. I have so many friends that failed midterms in their first year and are now on the Dean’s List. I’m not saying don’t study for your midterms. Study and study hard. However, we’re human and we can only do so much. So rest up, drink that bucket of coffee, and go crush those midterms!