Mid-Semester Slump

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's half way through October and that excitement of being back on campus is starting to wear off. The snooze button gets pressed more often, the effort to attend office hours dwindles, and you're counting the days until Thanksgiving break. (46 six days to be exact). Trust me, I'm right there with you.

But we can't stay in this slump forever. It's all about finishing strong; and it will be good practice for the future. And I'll practice what I preach by sharing a few tips that help keep me sane...

Plan your semester out. Pull out your syllabus— yes, those two sheets stapled together, crumpled up at the bottom of your book bag— pull 'em out!  Locate all the important dates your professor so kindly gave to you as prior knowledge. No sarcasm there, professors who plan assignment and exam dates in advanced give you the luxury of planning out your schedule and deciding whether or not you should drop it. So, find those dates; assignment due dates, no lecture dates, exam dates, etc. And mark all of them in the calendar so you never show up to class one day in a panic that you completely forgot to study for that exam.

google calendarFill out your Google calendar. Wondering where you can jot down all those important due dates? One step ahead of you. In that handy Google calendar of yours. I do and it has changed my life (for the better). This is what mine looks like for this following week:

- It allows you to color code all your future engagements from class to nap time.
- There's also a section to place your "to-do" list; both as a side-note or on top according to their days.
- If there's certain appointments that happen on a regular basis such as class or church, it allows you check a box and will then automatically place it on those particular dates for all following weeks. This is really handy so you don't have to sit there placing the same thing week after week.
- It gives you reminders based on your preference: 1 day before, 1 hour before, 30 min before, etc.
- It syncs to your smart phone and reminders pop up there, as well.
- It's digital. So it's easy to rearrange or delete events as needed, so don't worry about your flexibility.

Go to professor office hours. I have three midterms coming up this week and as I've (kind of) started studying, I'm realizing there's a chunk of material I don't understand or I didn't quite write down in my notes. Yes, I can email my professor to get a quick response; but personal interaction is always more preferred. Professors like to put a face to a name, and when they can, they're more likely to bump you up when you have a borderline "A," as well as write you a recommendation later in semester. Go to office hours as often as you can; whenever you have a question regarding lecture or just their study of academia. It'll only benefit you and flatter them.

Find a friend. Find a friend in that class.First, going to class will be more enjoyable because you have someone to share material with, as well as complain with. Complaining isn't always bad; if class material is at the point of discussion, it just helps make the content tangible and easier to digest. Also, if you ever oversleep and miss a lecture, having a friend will secure a set of notes. And like most people, they're competitive when it comes to grades; another person in the class can stir up motivation and push you to work hard. A little friendly competition is a good thing.

Type up your notes in class.  My professor gave me this advice freshman year and I've been (trying to) keep it. Your professor probably talks fast. Faster than you can neatly hand-write each bullet point before Professor changes to the slide. (the entire class groans and slams their fist on their desks). When your professor is a chatty cathy, bring your laptop. Most people can type faster they can write. Then after class, open up your notes and rewrite them with by hand; studies show that muscle memory helps your brain absorb the info. If your professor is not a chatty cathy, stick to old school pen and paper. You will be less distracted to just "quickly" check Facebook or shoot an email; then after class, type up on your laptop. In case you only wrote a word down, you can elaborate on Word and neatly organize it.

What are your tips on fighting mid-semester slump? Share here. And good luck with exams, everyone!

XO.

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