By Janaya Greene (BLOC Fellow)
It’s only seven weeks into school and you’re already feeling overworked, stressed, and ready to just drop college altogether (for the moment at least). Midterms are approaching and you already have a million other non-school related things to do. Well you’re not alone. It’s easy to get so caught up in our planners and campus orgs that college students forget to take a step back… and breathe. Here are seven ways to help you master your midterms and most importantly, keep your peace.
1. Watch Netflix, Hulu, or any other show on TV
This may seem a little counter-productive, as catching up on How to Get Away With Murder doesn’t seem like it’d help boost your course grades. But actually, studying non-stop is what’s really unproductive. Everything needs moderation, including hitting the books. Give your brain a break. Watch a movie, eat some snacks, then return to studying when you feel more energized to.
I didn’t know that “pulling all-nighters” were a real thing until I got to college myself. Call me a granny if you want, but my sleep is tremendously important to me. Without adequate sleep, I feel drained and unequipped to go to class or complete any work the following day.
Yes, loosing a bit of shut-eye can help you finish more work. But what’s the point if you stay up all night and can’t retain that information the next day?
Studies suggest that not regularly receiving seven hours of sleep per day can have serious adverse affects on your memory. Plan what times you’re going to study, as well as when you’ll head to bed so you can retain the information you need to ace your midterms.
3. Study in Moderation
It’s so tempting to finish your tasks that are immediately due, than to start studying for midterms that are days to weeks away. Yet, you might find that studying earlier and in moderation is more effective than cramming for a midterm in one night.
It’s definitely easier said than done, but try studying for your midterm at least a week ahead of its actual day. This way, you’re giving yourself time to refresh on course material and your brain room to tie all of this information together.
Eating can also give you the energy to study harder and more effectively. Working on an empty stomach is never fun and honestly may make you less inclined to finish your necessary tasks. Whether it be taking a break and eating or snacking while studying, make sure you’re adequately nourished. Especially before your midterms as well.
5. Visit Your Professor’s Office Hours
By studying early, you can compile topics that you may have forgotten. If you visit your professor early in addition to this, it shows them that you’re getting prepared, are interested in their course, and aren’t cramming to pass the class. This could even influence your instructor to be less harsh on grading due to your extra effort.
6. Find a good location to study
In my personal experience, if I know I need to study and feel like I’m so distracted that I can’t focus, I study in the library. This way I’m not tempted to go back to sleep and face other distractions.
When I feel super energized and ready to get work done, I study in my room, as it’s typically more calming and comfortable for me. Everyone has their own preferences, so pay attention to where you feel more comfortable and effective, according to your different moods.
No one is perfect. You’re only human. Stressing too much is the number one way to fail. Stay calm, do your best, and your midterms will more than likely turn out better than you expected.