Midterms!

| October 14, 2011
The look of the Mid-Semester Slump

The look of the Mid-Semester Slump.

It has started. The dreaded middle-of-semester slump. Midterms have seriously got me down.

I mean, I can’t lie and say that they’re all that bad. Actually, in all honesty, I only have one left. But, believe me, I’m still recovering from the other four.

Last week, my first exam was in “The Global Marketplace,” an international business class. It was open-note. Piece of cake. Then, “Spanish Teaching Methodologies.” Kill me. I’m taking this class as a 300-level course. The majority of my classmates, however, are graduate students taking it as a 600-level course. You can imagine the pain my brain feels.

This week, I started out with a “Communication & Society” exam. This class is probably the most boring demonstration of the effects of PR any professor could have come up with. I used the last lecture period to read consumer reports and decide whether I want an iPad, Kindle or Nook. So let’s just say I had to do a bit of studying to prepare for that one.

Then Thursday I had the hardest exam I’ve ever had to prepare for in the history of ever. “Critical Social Thought.” What I originally assumed would be an interesting sociology class focused on government functions (how could I be so dumb?) turned out to be a straight philosophy class. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Philosophy and I do NOT mix. I just don’t get it. You cannot answer a question with a question!

Anyway, before I get too carried away with my hatred for this class, I’ll get to the point. Because I automatically assume I won’t understand any of the readings or lectures in this class, I simply don’t read and don’t pay attention in class. Good strategy, right?

Well, my plan of never paying attention was working out for a while. I used the class time to answer emails, apply to internships, online shop and catch up on facebook stalking. Everything was great until the time came for an actual exam. I didn’t know anything. Luckily the professor put extensive notes and slideshows online, but I had to teach them all to myself.

Times like these are when it’s good to have friends – or make friends – in your classes. Use people to help you in your classes. Most professors are easy to talk to and reasonable with questions you may ask about tests, projects and papers but occasionally you get one of those flustered, impossible, incomprehensible professors where it just seems like there’s no hope.

Study groups are wonderful because you can work off of points that your classmates might have heard that you missed, and vice versa. They are also great therapy tools. Commiserating about the difficulty of a class or the ridiculousness of a professor is my favorite part of study groups. But, be careful how far you take it. Wednesday night I was studying with a friend and literally wanted to cry. I was sure I was going to fail the exam the next day. It was a little embarrassing breaking down in front of this guy I just met in class but he completely understood. The class is absurd and it feels good to know I’m not the only one who thinks so.

So complain as much as you want. Cry a little if you have to. Call your parents and warn them that you’ll never amount to anything because you got one bad exam score.

When you finish being melodramatic, turn your passionate frustration into production. Get your butt to the library and teach yourself everything you have to. Grab a latte and stay up all night if need be. Even if the exam is impossible the next day, at least you can say you gave it your all.

And guess what. I taught myself everything there is to know about Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Smith and Kant, and I’m proud of myself. I actually get it without having paid a minute of attention in class. And the midterm wasn’t terrible. I mean, it wasn’t easy. But I wrote comprehensible responses and I understood what the professor was looking for.

But don’t expect that kind of experience to happen to me again. Starting Monday, I’m putting away the laptop and taking straight pen and paper notes the rest of the semester. Big girls don’t cry in the library.

Category: College Confab

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Samantha Stratton

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