I hope everyone has had an amazing holiday break. Christmas is definitely a time to be thankful and giving and reflective about what we have received. With the new year just a few days away, I certainly have created goals for myself to start my spring semester of college off even better than I did this last semester.
With that said, now I have a better idea of what a college curriculum truly demands, both academically and socially. So this is an entry about the implications that create the imbalance of designated study time, insomnia and trying-not-to-stress-so-much time. It’s true, that in college there are social factors that may distract you from maintaining a schedule of study times. At Pomona, there were many wonderful opportunities to de-stress that were tempting. But aside from that, the overall reputation of finals week stressed me out. I cannot say I had it particularly difficult though– many of my major projects and papers were due before or immediately Thanksgiving break. So, I did not have too much to worry about for finals week, save my German exam, a reflection for my history class and, more dreadfully, my math exam. The last one was the final I feared for most. I would imagine sitting in class, skimming the problems, unable to reach a mental approach to each of them. I honestly didn’t know how to begin studying.
But from my attempts and my experience actually taking the final I feared most about, I learned this:
1. I like to study alone sometimes, with the opportunity to play music
2. I usually need to wake up early if I want to not feel groggy throughout the entire day to study
3. Practicing problems after rereading the lessons from the textbook helped mE exponentially!
4. I cannot study in my room
5. If I am in a group, I take a lot of breaks so I usually save those sessions for assignments that are less intellectually demanding
6. If I miss a meal, I will be too cranky to study
7. The actual final will be difficult but nothing to fear
These little tidbits are just a couple of the realizations I had over “dead week” that helped me figure out how I should approach finals by the end of the week. So on Friday when I had my Calculus exam, I skimmed the problems a little more confidently than I had previously envisioned. I know exams can be intimidating, even triggering. I know a couple people who wanted so badly to ace every one of their courses because their desired career paths seem to require that type of consistent excellence. But the truth is, experiencing college takes more forms than just experiencing a class and its exam at the end of the semester. Moreso, getting something wrong a couple times eventually helps you get things right most of the time. It’s okay. To start your year off solid, I suggest learning the methods that help you study best in order to prep for midterms or finals.
I’m still recovering from not seeing my family the entire semester. This break, I’ve been reminded of why I endure struggling in college. If you’ve got your mind set to a path, you’ll find your way through it. I believe in that.