Tag: Midterms

Midterms: How to plan for two weeks of anxiety

Midterms: How to plan for two weeks of anxiety

In the midst of my fourth semester here at Loyola, I think I’ve finally narrowed down a plan to conquer midterm tests, papers and projects. Midterm week or weeks here at Loyola are not officially defined by the school but are defined by your professors. This can bring a flurry of misery for students. Some students complete all of their tests in one day while others have a lengthy schedule of tests day after day. But, Don’t panic! There are ways to conquer these trying times by a few simple steps.

Tip #1: Create a calendar

Most all of my professors create a syllabus and hand it to me on the first day of class. Commonly included in the syllabus are important dates such as dates of tests, midterms and large projects. If you have an academic planner or not, I advise you print a full calendar for the month with the most important due dates and tests. For spring it is usually the last few weeks of February and for Fall it begins around mid October. Post this calendar in a place you will see it everyday. It might help jog your memory or influence you to get some work done.

Tip #2: Prioritize

All of these important dates may be swirling around in your head like a storm but learn to diffuse those thoughts. Take one step at a time. For example, study for that upcoming test in three days as opposed to writing that paper due in two weeks. If you have two tests and a paper due in on day, like I did, create a study schedule.  Don’t devote an entire day to one subject but create a time to study each subject every day.

Tip #3: Schedule Study Breaks

Studying for four hours straight isn’t healthy. Your brain needs some time to time to relax here and there. Every half an hour of take a 5-10 minute break. Stretch, walk around the block, meditate, converse with a friend or watch a funny video. Giving yourself a break can do wonders for retaining a vast amount of information. If you study for too long of time increments, your brain will not retain the amount of information you desire.

Tip #4: Eat

Sometimes students get so flustered that they forget to eat. With time, they may get hunger headaches or obtain the inability to focus. Your brain needs power! Power comes with healthy and stimulating foods. If you feel too swamped to sit down and eat a regular meal, keep some healthy snacks around.


Most of my friends had midterms last week and are ready to celebrate their accomplishments with a shopping trip or a movie night. Some of your friends may try to persuade you to take a “study break” and go out for a night of dancing but in the back of your mind your conscience will tell you to study. Don’t be afraid to listen to this conscience! Your education comes first and there will be many other times to have a fun night with your friends. They will understand, if not now then later.

….Even if you have to spend 21 hours in Mundelein to finish an art project, the satisfaction is worth it.


Midterm Week

Midterm Week

Finally, midterm week has ended and classes for the second semester are halfway done. For some, including myself, a lot of stress and cramming/studying are over for now; so much has been done to prepare for this week: the countless “all-nighters”, the student study group sessions, and more. As my favorite teacher, Dr. Helgott, always says before an exam, “hard work pays off”. I could not agree more with her. If students put the time, effort, and consistent motivation to do well, then they should be on the right track to success in everything they do. I try to do the same, but sometimes it challenging.

Just like the saying goes, “easier said than done”, I try to be a better student but sometimes I lack determination to push myself even harder than I usually do. Most students understand what I mean. After trying all different types of resources to help myself improve, sometimes the results don’t add up; it doesn’t pay off. With that being said, I have to try harder. I have to open my mind and see a different approach to resolve the problem. Yes, this means that more time and dedication will have to be put in, but in the end, things will be worth it. I promise.

I might sound like I’m going off on a tangent on my own problems, but in the grand scheme, I am trying to be optimistic. Hope is still out there. Things will get better. I will still stand strong.

Quotes and More Quotes

Quotes and More Quotes

Even though I just posted some Spring Break activities, we do still need to acknowledge that we have one week left of classes. For some of us, like me, this is also the week that we have midterms. It’s going to be a long and hard week, and we all know we need that little extra push to give it our all. Here are some quotes (and a joke) to motivate us and put smiles on our faces while we study:

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’”- Audrey Hepburn

“If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old”- Lord Chesterfield

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves”- Thomas Edison

“Just because it isn’t in your life plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly where you’re supposed to be”- Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23

“Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”-  John Maxwell 

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.”- It’s a corny joke, but it made me laugh

Halloweekend Begins

Halloweekend Begins

These past few weeks have been busy for me, as they have been for everyone else. Midterms have been coming and going, but they’ve been like that for over a month. My schedule has calmed down now on the school front, and the waters should be relatively calm until Finals.

First order of business I want to cover- Registration for Spring semester is rapidly approaching. For those of you worried about it, like me, I suggest you start stocking up your class shopping cart on Locus now. I have already planned a schedule for myself, and I can only hope that everything goes as planned. I’m going to try to take 21 hours, and right now I’m quite nervous.

Along with seven classes, I hope to find an internship for myself. The seventh class that I want to take is BSAD 351 in the Business department, which requires an internship during the semester. So far, I have found several internships to apply to on RamblerLink and internships.com. Anyone looking for internships should check these two sites out, especially RamblerLink, our school’s job and internship website.

Like I said, my schedule has slowed down now that Midterms are basically over. I have two tests left leading up to finals, and just several more papers before semester’s end. Up until now, I have survived, and in my opinion, successfully. Knock on wood that I keep it up.

In less than one week, it’ll be Halloween, which means that (for me at least) this weekend is Halloween weekend! Though dressing up in a costume isn’t a big concern of mine, I am really looking forward to going to Fright Fest tomorrow. Even though I’m not going with Loyola, a friend of mine told me that the Loyola trip to Fright Fest is also tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to running into some of my friends.

The last time I went to Fright Fest was in high school, junior year, which means that it’s been four years since my last trip. Back then, I only went on several rides and walked around with friends. This year, I want to go to the Haunted House and see the other Halloween-themed events they have set up. I also can’t wait to see the character costumes they’ll have. Here’s a picture of one from “back in the day”:

I doubt they’ve changed much, but I’ll post a new picture of one of the coolest costumes from this year in my next post. Happy Halloween weekend everyone! Stay warm, stay safe, stay fun.

How Semesters at Loyola Work

How Semesters at Loyola Work

Now that we’re into the 3rd out of what I would say are 4 parts of the semester, I think I’ll give a breakdown of how I’ve noticed all the parts of the semesters generally trend:

1. I think the first part of every semester is, in general, a “get to know you” section where the instructors and students learn each other’s style through small individual assignments and lectures. This goes through the first quarter of the semester, usually.

2. The second quarter is a solid increase in student responsibility that comes to a head at Midterms, which is the first major concentrated effort of the semester. Up until this point the instructors are doing the lion’s share of the work to get kids up to speed in the subject. Midterm projects range from the first big paper due to an actual exam and everything in between. Whatever it is, there is a sudden ramping up of effort expected from and given by students that peaks at the end of the 2nd quarter of the semester.

3. After Midterms there is a sharp fall off of effort on both sides; the instructor and students at this point have settle into a comfortable but brisk cruising speed that is a little under halfway between the start of the semester ease and the peak of midterm. This continues for a about half of the 3rd quarter until the next big project due dates become visible on the horizon (usually they are group projects this time around). However, the peak of group projects isn’t quite as high as that of midterms.

4. After the next big peak from the end of the 3rd quarter is a smaller drop off, but then comes Finals week, which is known pretty much universally as “heck week” by many. Later, when the time comes for that, I will try to post a little piece on how to deal with Final’s week stress and successfully navigate the last week and a half or so of the semester. For now, just know that as soon as you clear the 3rd quartile you’re basically always eyeing the end. And it drops faster than a ham on a bungee cord.

That’s basically it. Four different sections that each ramp up the intensity before a drop-off. First comes passive learning while the teacher gets students up to speed, then active independent work to prepare for and take midterms, then an even level of effort from both parties that comes to another head when group projects (or those of similar weight) come due, then one final breath before the charge into Final’s week.

Midterms: Difficult, but Worth It

Midterms: Difficult, but Worth It

To me, the spring semester and I have a love/hate relationship.

On one hand, the courses that I am enrolled in spark my interests and I was able to fit them in my schedule. On the other, it seems like I have been writing paper after paper and taking test after test.

My last two midterm exams are tomorrow, and I am almost hitting a wall to the point where I have no energy left. Thank goodness for vitamin water’s energy flavor.

One thing that is giving me the push to keep going are the grades that I have been getting back. Although studying has been taking the place of sleep, those late nights have reaped the rewards of good grades.

It also comes back to remind me the whole point of midterms: to see if I know the material I am learning so far in these courses, and if I am able to understand the material in my own way.

Even though midterms are difficult, they are definitely worth the hard work and late nights. Wish me luck on my last two!

The All-Nighter

The All-Nighter

So as I begin my post, it is exactly 5:45 am. I just pulled my first all-nighter… of my senior year! Last semester, I might have stayed up late, but not in excess of 2 or 3 am.  This is legit. I thought I had left these habits behind. I thought myself wise and mature…

But I am actually exceedingly proud of myself at the moment (well, I guess I could reason that if I did most of this stuff over the weekend, it could have been avoided, but some of this work was not anticipated!).

Point being– I accomplished everything I needed to in order to have a pretty successful day.  I finished up a midterm paper, got an art project done, and did some hard-core studying for another midterm I have this afternoon.

I will be fully honest.  There are two classes I could totally skip today, and I would be perfectly OK.  I could even sleep late!  But I will resist!  I’ve made it this far and I’m feeling pretty decent.  My goal is to stay up for the next couple of hours, get ready for the day and roll out.

I’ll let you know how everything goes.

Spring Break!

Spring Break!

Only two days until spring break! In the midst of midterms and many papers, it is the light at the end of my tunnel. This year I am going on a mission trip to Nicaragua from March 3 to March 10 and I could not be more excited!

The trip has been organized by one of my close friends, Alex. He went on a mission trip in high school through the same organization that we are going through, Amigos For Christ. Amigos has a site in Chinandega, Nicaragua, and has been able to bring a community fresh water. While down there, we will be continuing this work by digging for water lines.

We will be doing more than just physical labor though. Our itinerary shows that on Sunday, our first day, we are going to climb an active volcano! Monday and Tuesday we will be working in the community but on Wednesday we are going to an orphanage. We will be playing with the children and entertaining them. After the orphanage we have the opportunity to go into town and get souvenirs and such. Thursday and Friday are back to working in the community and we leave on Saturday.

The fact it is just two days away though means I need to go into crazy fast packing mode Thursday night after my midterms are over. Luckily, I do not need to bring much, just shorts, t-shirts and one nice outfit for church.

I am getting too excited though and am neglecting my midterm studying! I need to get my priorities in order and focus for just two more days. Ah, so much easier said than done though.

Alex, who is organizing the trip, while at the orphanage on his trip during high school.