Midterms are brutal, but with small changes, positive differences can be made not only to survive, but to thrive.
Midterms are underway with a noticeable difference in our student body. Assigned a number of lab reports, essays and exams a week, sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to have anything in the schedule that doesn’t revolve around these demanding assignments, especially sleep and relaxation. As brutal as midterms are, though, there are ways that we can get on top of them and at least survive until October comes to a close. These ten tips are a great way to rehone focus on the wellbeing of yourself.
1. Prioritize and Manage Assignments
Do you have a big project due in two weeks, but small assignments every other night until then? Don’t wait until your smaller assignments are complete to start your big project. Do a portion of your big project every night and make steady progress, no matter how small. It will pay off when it’s due in 48 hours, and you’re the only one in your class not cramming.
2. Study in a New Space
Sometimes all you need to increase productivity is to study in a new space and get a change of atmosphere. Why study in your dorm when you can go to the basement of Keplinger or the computer lab in Stephenson? Go reserve a study room in the library, sit in your hammock adjacent to the library steps, set up a picnic blanket on Dietler Commons or use the study rooms in your dorm building. Why not go off campus and explore Tulsa? Study at the Gathering Place, at a local coffee shop or at a local library. There are so many opportunities to be introduced to a new space that may become your new favorite place to study.
3. Try a New Study Method
I know that I don’t do well studying with groups. I am a social creature who will spend her entire time talking to other people as opposed to focusing on work, so I highly enjoy putting in some earbuds and cranking out assignments for hours by myself. Sometimes, though, study groups do work, depending on the assignment. Or maybe you’re the type of person that doesn’t do well studying on their own. Mix it up and try other study methods, tips and strategies; sometimes it may be all you need for a new kind of project.
4. Eat Snacks and Drink Water
It’s very important that as you’re cramming for midterms, you make time to eat and drink; it can be easy to forget when there’s so much already going on in your mind. Buy some easy snacks to store in your dorm, like small packages of Goldfish, pretzels or cereal bars so you can just grab and go. Always have a filled water bottle on your desk so you can grab it as you’re working. Your body will thank you.
5. Dress to Impress
I know that when I feel dead and exhausted from midterms, I just want to curl up in a blanket and a sweatshirt, but sometimes all I need to feel motivated is to dress to impress. Instead of throwing on leggings and a sweatshirt, I’ll throw on a simple Old Navy dress, and I already feel more awake and put together. The same goes for a shower; a shower is very efficient at waking you up and keeping your hair squeaky clean in the process. Sometimes there’s no reset button quite like freshly washed hair.
6. Clean Your Room
When you’ve been studying for hours, you need to give your brain a break. I know I (like most of you) have the tendency to just scroll on Tik Tok, but that isn’t giving your brain a break. Giving your brain a break is not inputting any new information, such as watching television or reading a book. You really need to do something that doesn’t require too much brain energy, so try folding your laundry or cleaning your room. It will make you feel better and more put together while also giving your brain a break from cramming information.
7. Take a Walk Outside
Going off of that, getting fresh air is another way to give your brain a break. Take a walk around campus; if you go around the far border of campus twice, that’s about three miles. Or, if you don’t want to commit that much, take a walk around Dietler Commons in the shade or walk to the Student Union and pick up a meal. Get those legs moving and fresh air in those lungs.
8. Attend a Free Fitness Center Class
Exercise is a great way to steady the mind and get you to focus on something other than your midterms for 45 minutes. Sometimes, I don’t want to force a fitness class into my schedule, but your body will thank you for the small span of time you spend working out rather than cramming information. Currently, fitness classes are free at the Collins Fitness Center, anything from zumba and cycling to yoga and barre, as well as high fitness and tone workouts. Feel free to try one out at all different times of day!
9. Make Room for Events
It can be hard to make room for things in an already full schedule, but I was certainly feeling this when Homecoming was hosted right in the middle of my midterms. I spent a lot of time working on assignments, so I rewarded my hard work by going to the homecoming events that sounded interesting. I wasn’t able to make it to every event, but I still had a great time, and I’m glad I got at least a two-hour break those days to try something new and hang out with my friends.
10. Make Time for Yourself
Now this is the most important tip of them all. Don’t wake up at 4:00 a.m. and work until 11:00 p.m. That isn’t enough time for you, and you have to remember to take care of yourself during midterms. Do things you enjoy, make time for a grocery run, go to a park, read a good book before you go to bed or reward yourself with a movie after taking two exams in one day. Midterms and your grades may be very important, but you are more important than everything involving school combined.
As we continue chugging through October, I hope these tips are able to help make you feel better as you tackle all of your midterm assignments. We got this!