First exams are coming, kinda like “winter is coming.” Yes, I just quoted Game of Thrones. “Winter Is Coming” is the motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros. On Game of Thrones, “winter is coming” is a warning to be vigilant and prepare for the worst. The Starks, lords of the North, strive to be prepared for winter, which hits their lands the hardest. (Hits us hard, too, but not ‘til December.) For now, be like the Starks (minus the Red Wedding episode) and be vigilant in your preparation for your first exams. There’s a D in cold, but there doesn’t need to be one on your transcript.
How will you prepare for the upcoming first round of exams? Have you made study guides, met with tutors, done all the readings? No? If not, you’re probably not alone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or couldn’t start now.
Some ideas on getting ready:
- Attend NH50 study groups
- Review the learning objectives in your syllabi
- Do the Chemistry problems
- Attend any and all Supplemental Instruction sessions
- Book an appointment with a tutor
- Go to your Professor’s office hours
- Go to your TA’s office hours
- Ask other students in your class how they are studying
- Pair up with someone in your link group and study together
- Speak to your advisor
- Make flashcards of vocab terms (quizlet works!)
- Rather than re-reading the text (again) test yourself by responding to the learning outcomes at the beginning of the chapter
It is completely okay to be nervous for your first round of college exams. It is not like high school. You might not know what to expect. I have mentioned before that my way of doing assignments was doing it all in one night. This is not actually a best practice. Especially with exams. Going over the material in advance and in increments will make you feel a bit less stressed and help you retain information long term. That said, everyone gets nervous about an exam even if you think you know the information cold.
The night before an exam, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Feeling tired before and during an exam won’t seem fun and won’t be helpful. Eat something beforehand. Your brain is about to do something amazing- feed it! Being Hangry and Taking an exam do not mix.
When it’s all over, join the links and fellow CNHS students for pizza, chocolate, and conversation at the First Exam Debrief, 5:00 p.m. on September 26 in Rowell 118. Celebrate and commiserate with each other now. Stay vigilant. The next round of exams is coming soon.
So the first week has come and gone. Mixed emotions I am sure were had by all. First week of classes has happened and you received documents that will help you be successful. Those documents are called syllabuses. Find them, study them, plan them out, be friends with them. Of course the subject materials that are in the syllabuses will ultimately be the main factor in being successful in those courses, but actually knowing when that subject material needs to be covered or when an exam is or a paper is due is extremely helpful.
Some of you might have already gone through these syllabuses and planned out your entire semester and when and what you need to do. However, some might have not even opened it up to take a look. It is not too late if you are in the latter category. Take 15 to 20 minutes and read them. Plan your week at least and then make a plan to plan for the following week. Being on track will make it less overwhelming than cramming it in the night before. Trust me, I did it constantly while I was in college. I constantly wrote papers in one night, pulling that all-nighter and afterwards being a zombie for the next couple of days. Was it worth it? No. Do I wish I could have figured out how to get things done in advanced or in small increments, oh hellz yes. My roommate could plan it out and on the night before the paper was due, she would be doing a couple of tweaks and saying goodnight while I was still plugging along on my computer figuring out where my paper was even going.
In looking at your syllabuses and planning your week, I would highly recommend figuring out where there is me time or friend time or basically just fun time. There is so much pressure to do everything all at once. You are trying to navigate a new place, making new friends, and balancing that with still doing well in your courses. It is a lot to take in and I know that the FOMO is real (yes I looked up what that actually stood for, showing my age). Staying in to do those chapters will bring less stress in coming weeks. I know, I know, easier said than done, right? I might not be in college anymore, but I do get it.
I still need help planning my week, I still need to make time out of my week to actually see what the week will entail. For me weekly planners work for a couple of weeks and then i stop taking time to actually put down what I need to do. I think I am going to remember it all. Spoiler alert: I don’t. This is why I have decided to plan on Sundays from 3pm to 5pm. I am going to remove myself from all that is a distraction. Since I will be planning my week, why not open it up to you all. Join me on Sundays from 3pm – 5pm in Rowell 001 (across from the Office of Student Services). Doesn’t need to be something you go to for the full two hours or even “on time” at 3pm. Join me, put your earbuds in, and take 15 minutes to figure out what is in store for you for the week. Use the space to prepare; I will be there no matter what.