It’s that time of the year again.Coffee, study, sleep, study, coffee, study, study, pizza delivery to Dirac, study. It’s midterms! How wonderful.
I’ve realized in my past four years of undergrad midterms, and this year with my masters “midterms” that this week of pure torture in the middle of the semester is teaching us way more than what we read in our books at 3 A.M. in the library. Midterms are testing our lives, not our studies.
As I was looking at myself in the mirror today, ponytail, baggy eyes, and a tea in hand I realized this fact. It was an epiphany - one that I wish I had realized in my undergrad years. My undergrad midterms were the weeks that I really struggled with during this time of the semester. I’ll admit, my sophomore year I actually fell asleep in a cubicle at Stroz for a solid two hours and woke up to a fly in my Gatorade. Not my proudest moment, luckily it was super late at night on the upper floors so no one saw me drooling all over that terrible text book. I am only admitting to this moment now because I graduated with a degree in hand and successfully made it past the all-nighters, or in my case the wannabe all-nighters.
Midterms really are a good for evaluating yourself in this new year. Where are you in school?
a) You’re a freshman in college now - time to prove yourself, and show how smart you are.
b) You’re a sophomore - you have made it through before, act cool.
c) You’re a junior! - upperclassmen pro at college, but what are these upper level courses?
d) You’re a senior – only need to pass fail this foreign language, but actually how to I boost my GPA 4.0 whole points before spring?
e) You’re a fan of FSU. Winter is coming and so is a fifth year.
Regardless of your answer the real question remains; How are you handling things? What are you prioritizing?
This is a lecture most professors give to remind us to focus on school. You’re here for school. You’re paying to be here. You lose about $17 per class that you skip. That’s cover for two… and honestly worth a whole separate article. So, let’s get back to prioritizing.
If you actually do make it to class, and you do pay attention, why are you still cramming? Maybe midterms are a good time to re-evaluate your study skills or your study group. Study groups can be effective only when everyone contributes equally. Are you the slacker who comes to copy everyone’s notes? Are you the one who spends so much time trying to help your partner understand one concept that you don’t leave time for yourself to figure out answers in areas you may be lacking in? Both types of students equally have some adjustments to make to help themselves.
Maybe you’re not the study group kind. You’re the kid who is so involved you get home at 10:30 P.M., after the study session has packed up and gone home. You on the other hand haven’t even cracked open your study guide. You are fine with that though because you always manage to get it all done, right? Who needs sleep?
I actually spoke about this in my speech class with Professor Ziegler. Did you know that your brain function after not sleeping the night before an exam is equivalent to your brain function at .05 BAC? This was released by researchers at Ausenco – a global diversified engineering company in an article published in 2013. It’s old news to them, but “new” news to us. If you wouldn’t swing by the strip right before your exam after all your hard work studying, why would you deprive yourself of sleep? It’s the same results.
At the end of your exams this week when you’re walking home more than ready to crawl into bed for a few hours- or 20 - take notes on how this week went and what you should do for finals in just a month or so. What are you prioritizing? If you’re not doing what’s best for you this week, I’m begging you to this December. Your school, your health, your future all add up to be worth a lot because you are worth a lot.
You know it.