Whether you’re a cult member or just very impressionable, chances are you’re concerned about the impending apocalypse in December 2012. Personally, I’m more fixated on another upcoming crisis: fall semester midterms.
Midterms are the worst time of the year. Unlike finals, they happen right in the thick of the semester with no designated reading days during which students can catch up on sleep and crying. This semester, the madness begins Oct. 9. So forget getting that three-week jump on your sweet Game of Thrones Halloween costume.
But there might be hope for you this year. Being a seasoned sophomore, I figured I’d lay down some of my personal tips for making it through the midterms week. Feel free to take any or all of these suggestions, coming to you straight from a person who has pulled significantly fewer than one million all-nighters in her lifetime.
1. Make use of a sensory deprivation chamber.
Sometimes, all it takes to get really focused into your art history timeline is some good, old-fashioned cutting off of all mental, physical and emotional ties to the outside world. And what better place to do it than the freezing, windowless tundra that is our very own Quinn Library-Dungeon? Step one: grab your flashcards and a water bottle and sit down at a study carrel by yourself. After just an hour or two, you’ll be memorizing Gothic cathedrals like a robot and forgetting what it feels like to love. As an added bonus, you’ll emerge from the dank study cave like a newborn baby, shrinking from the rays of the sun and smiling at strangers on the sidewalk with the wonderment of someone who has never seen a human face. Enjoy your newfound sense of whimsy for a few minutes, then head back to the underground library lair and repeat.
2. Put the “fun” in “first draft.”
Let’s get this clear up front: there was never any “fun” in “first draft.” They only share one letter. But hey, you knew that already. That’s why you’re going to do so well on your midterms. My point is that you have to put the fun in there yourself. For instance, try getting extra informal in the early stages of your term papers. If you need to drop some f-bombs to fully explain your stance on free will and determinism, go for it. Do the women of the Old Testament remind you of any of your favorite Destiny’s Child lyrics? Throw them in there. If you’re one of those font people, I don’t need to tell you about the array of artistic options you have at your fingertips in Microsoft Word. Get your ideas on paper in a way that’s both fun and a little therapeutic. The more clip art the better—you can always edit it out later. Or not. Didn’t your professor tell you that an “A” paper would go above and beyond the prompt?
3. Remember: when the going gets tough, the tough get Chipotle.
Have you heard that good studying is 75 percent dependent on nutrition? It’s not—don’t let false information fake you out of your studying game. That’s lesson number one, but lesson number two is that frequent burrito breaks will enhance your midterm performance by 300 percent at minimum. The reason I specify Chipotle is that it is physiologically impossible to experience negative emotions while eating their food. In a pinch, the salsa can even be used as a substitute for several hours of sleep. It has revitalizing qualities that will give you that extra superhuman edge on all your exams. If you’re put off by the $8.50 per burrito or bowl, just remember that this is the only legal way to buy good grades. And don’t order guacamole.
There they are: some of my best pieces of advice for the upcoming battle of man-versus-midterm. With that, I’ll leave you to your studying. I hope that you and I both get the grades we’ve always dreamed of on our midterms this year. But if we don’t, let’s not stress—I’m pretty sure the world is going to end in a couple months anyway.