October is an exciting month! The beginning of fall means changing colors, falling leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. However, for college students the new season also presents a new host of challenges to overcome as it marks the beginning of midterm season. Midterms can be a particularly stressful time for college freshmen who are experiencing exam season and possibly home-sickness for the first time. Fortunately for first-time test takers (and the more experienced ones too), colleges are filled with resources to help combat the homesick blues and master the art of test season survival. Here are the top 5 strategies for surviving (and shining) in the coming weeks!
1. Visit Professors’ Office Hours
This seems like an obvious one, but many professors report that their office hours are rarely filled to capacity. Office hours are a great opportunity to review material from class, ask questions one-on-one, and most importantly, build relationships with faculty. Speaking to a professor individually may be intimidating, but is the beginning of a relationship that will be academically and professional beneficial in the long run. Professors are people too, and they were once in your shoes. They want to see you be successful!
2. Form Study Groups
Study groups are great for two reasons: 1) They hold you accountable to reviewing the material that will be tested. It’s so easy to avoid studying when you’re only accountable to yourself. Hitting the books with like-minded students who are equally invested will help you stick to a study schedule. 2) They provide much needed social interaction. Cramming for exams is never fun, but it can be much more tolerable when there are friendly faces around during those much needed study breaks.
3. Hit the Rec Center
University rec centers are a very underutilized campus resource, and they are free to all full-time students. Exercise can help relieve some of that test-taking anxiety, is correlated with increased energy throughout the day, and will help you get more restful sleep. So get yourself to the rec center, and get those endorphins flowing!
4. Attend a Non-Academic Event on Campus
College campuses are filled with free entertainment opportunities. Most have free movies, concerts, and student organization performances. Check out your college’s event calendar and plan to go to at least one performance or movie in the upcoming weeks. It’s important to give yourself permission to shut down the studying and have a little fun, and these activities won’t break the bank.
5. Skype with family
We live in a wonderful world of technology, where apps like Face Time and Skype are at our disposal. Being far away from home can be incredibly lonely, especially during testing season, but there is a simple solution: bring your friends and family into your new life by calling them with Skype or Face Time. Show them the progress you’ve made on decorating your dorm room and share some of your favorite moments from the semester. Seeing your loved ones may be just what you need to push through during midterms.
Whether you use just one or all of these strategies, know that there are people, resources, and activities near and far to help you rock midterm season. Do you know of a great campus resource or survival strategy? Tell us about it on Twitter @EMERGEfellows. We love hearing from you!