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Midterm Survival Guide

Midterms can be overwhelming, but the good news is that you’re halfway through the semester; so don’t give up! If you are feeling the stress of exams, projects, and essays, you’re not alone. We all know the pressure when we have minimal time and several assignments. Also, if you’re working while going to school, my guess is that you have even less time to spare. Luckily, I have a list of tips that can help you prioritize your time and help you thrive during one of the busiest times in college. 

1. Starting is the hardest part. It is easier said than done, but starting an assignment or studying for a test will always feel dreadful until you do it. Once you get started you will realize it wasn’t that bad, so my advice is to start studying or writing your essay earlier so that you will avoid last-minute cramming. 

2. Snacks are your best friend. Yes, you heard that right. When I am super busy studying or writing I usually do not have the time to cook, therefore I snack… a lot. Snacking also helps me stay awake when I am pulling all-nighters, and prevents me from eating a huge meal and putting myself into a food coma. I suggest you choose healthy snacks like fruits, granola bars, and carrots; but also treat yourself to ice cream, boba, or candy when you feel you finished something from your “to-do list”. This will act as a reward for all of your hard work! 

3. Hide your phone! If you can follow only one suggestion from the list, I highly recommend doing this one. Phones are often a distraction when working, it is so tempting to check our phone every time we get a notification, and the last thing we know we are scrolling through social media. Eliminate the temptation completely by keeping your phone walking distance, meaning you will need to physically get up and go get your phone if you want to use it. I have found that by doing this I am less likely to use my phone which helps me concentrate on my work and stay productive. 

4. Rest, but don’t stop. When we are so busy with schoolwork, some people are too focused on finishing whatever they’re working on that they don’t consider taking a break. This often happens to me when writing essays; I am tempted to think “ I can finish it by tonight”, and I really do not consider taking breaks. I end up cramming all of my work in a short amount of time, and I end up feeling drained because I didn’t allow myself to stop, rest, restart. I suggest taking small breaks by doing some physical activities like squats, jumping jacks, pushups, stretches, walking, or meditating. On the other hand, if you have the self-control, you can take a Netflix break and watch one episode of your favorite show or scroll through TikTok, just remember to keep these breaks under 30 minutes for every two hours you work. 

5. Ask for help. This one is important, especially when your test or essay consists of a big chunk of your grade. If you do not know the answer, don’t be scared to reach out to your classmates or professors for help. Also, if something that is out of your control prevents you from finishing your work, it is important to communicate that with your professors. I do not guarantee the professor will give you an extension, but if your professor is understanding then you both can create a plan that can help you get on track and succeed in the class. 

6. Reward yourself! Do not forget to treat yourself in whatever way you want after a busy week of tests and essays. If you feel proud of your accomplishments then I suggest treating yourself for all your hard work. This is a great habit to get to because it pushes you to finish all your assignments.

Those simple tips have helped me be successful during midterms, and they can help you too! Everyone’s school workload and life are different, but as college students, we are all going through this together. If you want to do well this semester, success starts with you! If you put in the work, you’ll get the results you want.


Kati Echeverria is a first-generation college student currently working on her M.A. in Strategic Communication at Hawai'i Pacific University. She has extensive knowledge of multiple subjects, including health, politics, and self-development. She aspires to help young adults navigate their college life and reach their goals.
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