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Phew. Okay. I feel better. So last week, this week, and next week are the dreaded time of midterms. It's really quiet around campus now because everyone disappeared into their rooms to study, write papers and prepare projects. As for myself, I'm feeling VERY busy. It feels like paper after paper after flashcards for a test.

If you're a first year student -- you may be feeling a little (or a lot) overwhelmed. I understand. In fact, everyone understands... we've all been there. Even your professors have been there! So make sure you're seeking them out to ask for extensions, meet for test help, or to get ideas for papers that you just can't start.

Like everyone says, college is a LOT different from high school. Midterms are usually a huge weight of your grade here. Usually around 20%. In some classes, it may even be the same as the final. What you need to do is prepare a study/work regimen. If you don't quite know how to do that... here's what I do:

1 - Write out my schedule. Include classes, work, activities etc.. DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE SLEEP. (Schedule 6-7 hours for sleep!)

2 - Write in time to study/do papers. Be specific with which task you're going to do when. Don't just put "paper," put "Political Science Paper".

3 - BE REALISTIC. Don't write "Political Science paper" for an hour if it's a 6-page paper. It's probably going to take longer than that ... then you will feel frazzled. Frazzled is NEVER good.

4 - TAKE A DEEP BREATH. You will get through it. Everyone always does. Plus, it's only the middle of the semester, so you always have time to work on grades etc.

If you do anything else, you should comment on here and let me know. I'm always looking for ways to make it through midterms.

Well, I hope that you're all doing well and not that stressed (now I'm not being realistic)... so I won't keep you.



Sam :)

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John Citron said:

Your suggestions are good, but I'd like to add to this.

As an older student coming into full-time college life after being in the work place for close to 30 years, I agree this can be a bit overwhelming if you're not used to it!

You have to keep in mind that you can't do more than one thing at once. Even if you jump between projects, you're still only doing one thing at a time. By focusing on the planning ahead of time, and by prioritizing the tasks, you can break down what appears to be a huge amount of stuff to do, into little easily tackled bits.

This is what I learned in a time management seminar I attended a number of years ago.

Make a plain list and number the items as you brainstorm them. Take this list and prioritize the items so that the most important, to be done first, are at the top, and let the others drop below. Now take this list again, and sort the the tasks with the highest priorities so that the more demanding tasks are at the top with the remaining, quick jobbies, listed at the bottom.

Now this list is now a check-off sheet. As you complete the tasks, cross them off. This alone will give you a feeling of accomplishment because you'll see the progress with each cross out.

In reality though, the number of projects and exams right now is far less than what you'll actually see out in the workplace. As a former IT guy, I probably had a gazillion tasks that needed to be done including moving the company a couple of times.

One of the tricks I have learned in the past, in addition to the time management priority list, is to think out the projects in my head. Working out the steps in the mind is like rehearsing them before performance. When you actually do your project or exam, you'll find that the task moves along pretty well because you've already done it before.


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