Oh, midterm season. If your schedule is anything like mine, it’s been jam packed with projects and exams for the past week or so. While it might seem like the chaos and stress will never cease, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s what I do to keep the academic flow going without losing my mind.
Make a to-do list. If you’re a “planner person”, you might already be set! If you’re not, it might be a good idea to jot down what you’ve got coming up in the next week so nothing slips past you. Crossing things off of your list can be therapeutic, and you might notice that you sleep better with more certainty in yourself and what’s going on.
Prioritize. When it feels like you’ve been given assignments on top of exams on top of research on top of group projects, it can be hard to know where to start in the mess of it all. I prioritize my to-do list by due dates and then by importance, but it can also be effective to prioritize by difficulty. It’s important to remember that while you’ve got a million things due this week, you can’t get it all done in one sitting. Doing assignments and studying a little bit each day can help alleviate the pressure of getting it all done at once.
Remember to breathe. Sometimes we over-do it. We join too many extra-curriculars, sign up for too many hours at work or take too many classes. We overload ourselves and when we can’t manage it, we stress about the stress of it all! Just know that in reality, you can’t do everything all the time. Sometimes you do need to take time out of that club, find someone to cover your shift, or drop that class—and that’s okay. The Academic Success Center offers resources for managing stress, health, and test anxiety as well as tutoring, study and writing skills, and exam preparation. While it’s helpful to talk through each of your decisions with your friends or advisor, the decision you make will affect you, not them. If taking a break is what’s best for you, do it!
Keep reality in check. No matter how you perform on midterms, know that one score in a class is just a drop in the bucket of your entire college career. Do not let a poor score pull your effort down, but instead, take it as a learning experience to try harder next time. You are not your grade in a class or your GPA. You are a living, breathing, human being, and you’re doing great!
“Everything will be alright in the end so if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” – Deborah Moggach