Important Skills Your First Midterm Season At College Will Teach You

5 Important Skills Your First Midterm Season At College Will Teach You

It is so easy to fall behind in college.

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At my high school, teachers were not allowed to give midterms or finals because it was "too stressful" on the students. Although it was nice while we were in high school, now that I am in college I wish that I did have to take midterms or finals because now when I am taking midterms I am still learning how to study for them. This semester is the first time I have ever had to take midterms so I wanted to share five things I have learned this midterm season.

1. Staying on top of things

It is so easy to fall behind in college. Learning from this first midterm experience, I know now that after each lecture is over I should just do the assigned reading and all the notes as we cover each topic rather than saving them for the week before the midterm. You can always reread the textbook the week before midterm but reading the textbook as the lectures occur help engrain the content in your brain.

2. Writing everything out

I found it very helpful to write out when each exam was and all the topics that would be on the exam. This helped me make a study plan more easily.

3. Knowing people in your class

When I first came to college, I didn't go out of my way to talk to people in my lectures. However, this exam season I learned it is very nice to have the contact information of some people in all lectures because while studying if you ever run into a problem it is easier to first ask your peers than to wait for office hours.

4. Going to office hours

Although you can ask your peers and google answers to conceptual questions, I also wish I went to office hours more. Sometimes during office hours, the professor will give you more information about what may be on the exam and other times it is nice to go because listening to other people's questions may also help you understand your content better.

5. How to study

Before coming to college I read at so many places that high school methods won't work in college. I never believed it until now. In high school, everyone just used to memorize everything before the test. However, in college, you actually have to know the material and know how to apply it.

Hope these are helpful, good luck!

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Friendship: From School To College

The only thing I know is that I don't know

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In the first version of my common app essay I wrote about friendship. I started by describing this mural I have in my bedroom. It occupies about two walls and is as huge as you are probably picturing in your head. I have always been slightly entitled, and so at the time I really thought I understood what friendship was about. I had just had a massive fight with some people whom I used to consider very close friends, and I had proceeded to (very dramatically) take down some pictures from this mural. So the mural was incomplete, and I used this as a metaphor in an essay that if I had submitted it at the time, I probably wouldn't be writing this article for Odyssey at Emory because I wouldn't have gotten into college in the first place.

Thankfully, I decided against that essay and submitted a completely different version in December of 2016. The mural, however, continues to be incomplete. I have made peace with some of the people I had fought with back then, and have made new friends in college and matured quite a bit since that first draft of my common app essay. Now, I can more humbly say that I don't really know much about friendships, or people in general, despite pursuing a psychology major for the past two years. The mural is incomplete because of this lack of knowledge.

Something that I have learned though is that college friendships and school friendships are fundamentally different. I went to a small school from when I was six years old to the time I graduated. That is a whole lifetime seeing the same people every day, growing up with those people, a whole lifetime to understand the values and habits of those people. And even then they can surprise you. So how arrogant did I have to be to not expect any surprises from people I knew for only one year in college. It's true that it's a different way of knowing people, that living together away from home pulls people closer than in any other situation. But how well can you really know someone after one or two years?

Not well enough, is the only answer I have been able to come up with. There is a certain symmetry I think, of me writing a bad essay about my broken mural after having a fight with my friends in school, and now three years since then here I am, writing a more humble version of that essay about that same mural, which remains incomplete. But this time, the mural isn't incomplete because I am mad or hurt and don't want to look at certain faces. Its incomplete because I am not sure who I want to put up in the mural yet.

I have never liked the idea of family being your blood relatives, because there are many blood relatives that I don't like, and many people whom I am not related to by blood but am related to by heart. There are few certainties, and these are up in my mural. But as I mentioned before, it's a huge mural, and so there is still a lot of space left for more.

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