Surviving Midterms and Exams

What do you do when you haven't seen daylight for the last several days and have to take lovely pictures for the blog? You take them of your back "yard." If I look out my patio door, this is what I see. Of course, I never look out my patio door. I never even go out my patio door. But today, I did--so I could take some lovely pictures for all of you. 

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It's time for midterms. It's REALLY time for midterms. Now is the time, not only for studying, but also for making sure we take care of ourselves. Different tris have different schedules. I know I've mentioned some of our heinous exam schedules before. This midterm schedule isn't too bad, but that doesn't mean it won't be difficult. 

For the last, I don't know how many days, I've been studying and working on E&M: Cervical notes. I'm already on my third pass of them, and I still don't feel like I know anything. This is how it goes when there's a HUGE amount of information on one exam. It's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to exam times. It's REALLY easy to neglect the Self and the Body. 

So, with that in mind, I offer this bit of advice for midterms (and finals).

  • Rest.
    Only once has staying up all night worked to my benefit. I don't recommend it. At some point, the fatigue and brain fog overtakes anything that might have been learned. And while there's some debate as to whether the brain needs to sleep in order to process information, or whether the brain forgets things as we sleep - either way it doesn't work out. Don't do it.
  • Be careful of what enters the body.
    Admittedly, I drank a TON of coke during finals last tri. By the last final, I don't think I could fill in the bubbles on the scantron I was so wired. Caffeine is a stimulant that does help with some mental clarity, but once a certain blood level is achieved, it doesn't work anymore. Plus, all that corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and caramel coloring is definitely not good for the body. Just say no.
  • Keep your regular routines.
    For this first exam, I have eschewed the gym for studying. I wish I hadn't. Exercise improves brain function. It's proven. Besides feeling sluggish (or like a slug - not sure which one), I'm going to have to work THAT much harder to dig myself out of the hole I've dug over the last week. The 5 or so additional hours that I would've spent at the gym over the last week, would probably have helped me focus a whole lot better. Keep moving; it helps.
  • The important thing to remember about exams is that they're temporary.
    They are hurdles that we all have to cross to get from point A to point B, and in the grand scheme of Everything, they don't mean a whole lot. We do what we have to do. If you haven't heard this analogy a million times already, let me remind everyone out there in blog-land. This is a marathon - not a sprint, kids. We're in this for the long haul. I have faith in all of you. 

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