Spring is upon us, and for any college student, this means only one thing: midterm season. It’s that week or two where the warming up of the weather outside is really just a way to warn college students of the hellish weeks to come before spring break. There are papers to write, tests to take, fellowships to apply for, summer plans to finalize and of course, the onslaught of extracurricular events you planned at the beginning of the semester. So, how do you make it through?
1. VIPs (Very Important Playlists)
First, you’re going to need a wonderful, upbeat playlists. There are going to be times when you do not want to read another page, chapter or even paragraph. That last half page of your essay can seem like the longest stretch of time. This is the time that you are going to want to put in your headphones, pull on your big-kid pants and dance it out. Then, after the short-lived high, you are going to want to pull your Adele back out, because there are still two midterms to study for, and it’s crying time.
2. That Friend that Always Has Coffee
So, its 2 a.m. and you are pretty sure you need to be up for another three hours. Unfortunately, the rest of the world closed a few hours ago, and your parents didn’t believe that you needed that Keurig. Luckily, this friend has you covered. They are up at all times (probably because they are blessed with a coffeemaker) and are always willing to share what every college student knows is the real nectar of the gods.
3. Knowledge that Someone Else Has a Worse MajorDo I enjoy writing 536 pages about themes in English Victorian literature ? No (OK, maybe a little bit). But is it better than theoretical calculus? Of course (apologies in advance to any math majors). Right, now that I have things in perspective, this doesn’t seem so bad. It’s still pretty bad, but not having to do complicated math bad.
4. Online Research Procrastination
That internship you are applying for is probably going to require you to buy dress clothes. And you’ll need a place to stay. And you’ll have to figure out the social scene in a new city. It’s probably not procrastinating if you have to do it eventually anyway. OK, it's still major procrastinating, but at least you still feel slightly productive when you realize you just wasted hours you could have spent writing that paper.
I’m a huge advocate of sleeping. In my experience, I have never learned enough information between 5-9 a.m. to justify pulling that all-nighter. Sleep is like the jelly to coffee’s peanut butter; both are fine on their own, but better together. Sleep is your elementary best friend that has stuck with you through even the darkest moments in your life. Actually, sleep has been with you for even longer than that friend, so don’t turn your back on it now.
6. Study Buddy
It can be a great friend that will keep you on task, yet provide short study breaks when you just need to vent. It can be a fellow person in your class that can provide insight on your classroom material. It can be that kid sitting at the table for six in a packed coffeehouse. It can basically be anyone that will hold you accountable enough that you won’t be tempted to open that Netflix tab on your laptop.
7. A Really Great Non-Academic Book/Article/Podcast
Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that there are other things going on in the world besides midterm season. There is literature outside the classics. There are exciting scientific discoveries that are happening outside of your chemistry lab. Politics is not just a theory, but actually happening if you open up basically any tab on the Internet. It’s really OK to remind yourself why you love a certain subject and wanted to study it in the first place.
8. The Promise of Spring Break
It doesn’t matter if you are taking an exotic vacation to a tropical island or heading back home to binge watch Netflix, the promise of a future break is a huge motivator for pushing through midterms. While you still probably have some work to do over the break, it always seems less stressful to do readings on a beach or the comfort of your own couch. Remember, midterms aren’t easy, but they also aren’t permanent.