Everyone is going through midterms, it’s not fun (we know), but here are some tips and ideas to help you through this trying time.
1. Make sure to eat before you study. If you are studying and eating at the same time you might get food on your notes or become distracted. Getting hungry right in the middle of a study session will sidetrack you. If you need to snack while studying, grapes, bananas with milk, jerky and popcorn are good options.
2. You should also remove any and all distractions. If you have headphones or earbuds, I suggest listening to ambient sounds: white noise, ASMR and anything without lyrics that might take your attention away from studying. If you are like me and love music, I suggest listening to musical scores from movies or video games. They are designed to keep you engaged and don’t have any distracting lyrics.
If you are easily distracted when you are with your friends, maybe it’s not the best plan to have a study group with said friends. If you want to study in a group, I suggest studying with people from your class who you know, but aren’t particularly close with so that you can focus on the topics at hand.
Whatever you do, don’t study outside. There are so many distractions: people passing by, insects, small animals, cars on campus and the list goes on. The on-campus libraries are a more efficient alternative. The cubicles in the library were designed to keep students from straying away from their studies. If you’re having trouble finding a study spot, try branching out somewhere new. If you always go to Rivera, try checking out Orbach, or even walk into a building where your class is held and check if there are any study rooms.
3. When studying it’s also important to set a schedule and be kind to yourself. Set a timer on your phone for an hour and a half. After it goes off, set another timer for 15 minutes and walk around or just lean back and let your brain absorb all that you’ve gone through in your reading. Then when you’ve done that and given your mind a break, go on to your next study session with a refreshed mind. The key is to stick to your schedule.
If you have an hour between classes, take that opportunity to sit outside of your next class and study while you wait. The people leaving and entering the room will serve as your alarm. This is where time management comes into play. It’s so easy to say that we will do something and then it’s 11 p.m. and the last five hours have disappeared. If you have to push the phone away, do it. If technology distracts you, do it the old fashioned way with a notebook and pencil.
4. Use your resources, but if you don’t feel comfortable going to your professor’s office hours, then go to your TA’s office hours. There are tutoring sessions in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and they can be really beneficial. Just walk in and ask to be there while someone is giving a lesson. It’s a lot easier to ask questions in a room of 12 rather than 200. There are also tons of campus resources such as meditation rooms, study rooms, nap pods and massage chairs in the Student Recreation Center (SRC).
5. My final piece of advice to you, is to sleep. It’s easy to push yourself to stay awake or rely on coffee and other things, but this is the worst thing for your body and your mind. That burst of energy you get at night? That’s your body’s energy meant for storing the events of the day during your sleep. It feels like something that your body is doing to help you, but it’s actually you hurting yourself. Going to sleep early is difficult, but you should try if you can. Try to stay away from your phone for an hour or two before your self-imposed bedtime.
Try using binaural beats or ASMR to help yourself wind down. If you sleep earlier, your body will get used to it and you will soon fall into a cycle where you actually want to sleep at a healthy time. Aside from this, you will wake up earlier, which will give you more hours in the day, and let’s be honest, nothing beats being the first in line for Starbucks or Coffee Bean.