How to Succeed at Midterms While Actually Trying

Hearst Mining Circle
Hearst Mining Circle | Photo by Courtney Cheng

1. Take a break to take a walk outside.

Don’t say you’ll do this when you can. Because if we’re all honest with ourselves, “when I can” is just a nicer way of saying “I’m going to study all day because I might fail otherwise.”

Remember to take a break every so often and get off the computer – your eyes can do with the respite, too – to get some fresh air. Even a 20-minute jaunt down the street will refresh your mind and your body into a better studying mode once you return to the nice mold of your derrière you’ve made in your seat.

Garden by the Men's Faculty Club
Garden by the Men’s Faculty Club | Photo by Courtney Cheng

2. Take time to enjoy the little things.

Don’t go around reciting your midterm material to yourself on that walk. That beats the purpose of the “break.” While you’re up and out of your seat, take some time to enjoy the little things – the flowers peering out around trash piles, the adorable dogs (and their even cuter butts) trotting around campus by their owners, the free cookies being offered at Pacific Cookie Company. (Which girl has had too many cookies these past two weeks? This girl.)

Let your mind truly and firmly drift off academics for a spell to enjoy the simple, peaceful moments of the day. Much like the walk, it will give your mind the break it needs to buckle back down in a few minutes.

Hidden gem behind Evans
Hidden gem behind Evans | Photo by Courtney Cheng

3. Indulge your inner                       (occupation, noun).

Be it explorer, photographer, or food devourer – indulge it. (For me, it was all three.)

Bathe in your weirdness for a moment and let yourself be you again, and not just a student. I really have to thank Maris and Luke for this one. Since I began enjoying their splendid company, conversation, and friendship last semester, I realized that I spent essentially no time on myself. Everything I did was for school and about school and with school in mind. Although I was successful, I also had a few too many idiopathic body pains for someone who doesn’t engage in strenuous physical activity.

Forcing myself to take these breaks to satisfy my personal hobbies (outside of cooking every day) has allowed me to feel more relaxed and get more free cookies…at least when I’m not studying.

Wedding arrangement by the Men's Faculty Club
Wedding arrangement by the Men’s Faculty Club | Photo by Courtney Cheng

 4. Be happy.

Er… At least try to. Aiming to not be hypocritical here since a good fraction of my conscious life is spent espousing rants at my friends, but really – life is much better when you’re happier and you’re surrounding yourself good friends.

It’s true that half your stress will then come from these close friends, but misery loves company and the more the merrier. As overwhelmed as I have felt so far this semester because of various aspects of my life – including the interpersonal aspects of it – I have also never felt more comforted and loved as when my friends and family have been there with two open arms, a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen.

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