I was once told that Napoleon had a two-part battle plan: first show up and then see what happens. I am a big fan of this plan. After hearing that, most people will remind me about how things turned out for Napoleon. I have a two-part response: first I sing the refrain from Waterloo and then I say that the world is wild and wonderful and surprising. Therefore, showing up is half the battle won and we can adapt to whatever happens.
There is nothing more challenging at the end of a semester than exams. In accordance with Napoleon, I fully believe that just by showing up for them you are already winning! Unfortunately, attendance is not usually worth half the marks! So, in order to adapt to whatever happens — WHICH YOU CAN DO! WE BELIEVE IN YOU! — you have to prepare. Here are some things I’ve found helpful in that preparing stage:
- Venn Mapping — Identifying the subjects I need to cover helps me recognize the places where I feel more confident and those where I feel more lost. Give each subject you are revising it’s own bubble. Then fill in the bubbles with key words/processes/mechanisms for each subject. Understanding how topics connect helps me begin to understand the larger picture.
- Use the buddy system — I have a hypersensitivity reaction to math. If I’m confronted with a particularly irritating calculation, I send out an SOS to a group text or to our class group page. If you are struggling with something, do not struggle alone! Your professors and fellow classmates are such great resources and insanely helpful. We’re in this together!
- Find your Ann Perkins.
- Be kind to yourself — You must eat! You must sleep! You must move more than a refrigerator-length away from your books! Take breaks. You need to take breaks. I have found that 50min on/10min off has been good study pace for me. I will repeat that 3 times before I take a longer break. Run! Work out! Nap! You are a person too; be kind to that person.
- Light at the end of the tunnel — think about all that awaits you! It might help to plan something fun to do after exams are over. My friends and I went to the Christmas market and we ate…pretty much everything! The donut kebabs we found there gave me a new lease on life.
Almost one week post exams and I’ve crossed an ocean, completed my first day of EMS, and had multiple nights end in dance parties with my nieces and nephew. The post-exam life is everything I had hoped it would be! I hope yours is as well! Until next time then, happy all of the days!