I had my third lecture exam for anatomy and physiology this past Friday and it was the first time in a long time I “prepped” over the course of the week rather than cramming it all in my brain the day before. While it was nice keeping that pace, I felt like I was more effective cramming than I was taking it day-by-day. Perhaps I really don’t have much space in my short-term memory to keep what I knew only a few days ago, and even though I review it, I only get to do so in the evening when I’m dead tired from my day! I wake up around 7am or 8 am to get to my part-time jobs or classes and then stay out on campus until maybe 5-6pm, which then I come back to shower, eat a little bit and suddenly it’s 7-8pm and I probably study well until 10pm when I’m deciding in the back of my head “hey maybe I should go brush my teeth and sleep soon…”
My normal answer/instinct to that is “NO. NEED TO STUDY.” But, that only kicks in the day before an exam…so not having to do that for this one as an “experiment” (this is not at all the time to experiment, please freshmen, figure out how you best study before you enter your sophomore year) made me neglect studying the night before my exam (I studied, but not beast mode study) like I normally do (and now I regret it). I decided to sleep the night early before the exam just so I could have a good brain to use in the morning (but clearly depriving my brain of sleep makes it work well, to a point). I figured waking up early to study would be sufficient, but I definitely couldn’t get out of my nice warm bed to the cold air that awaited me. Winter is not a fun time to take exams.
And hey, this is what finals week is about–seeing if you really learned anything (regardless of material because people forget that until they’ve been exposed in 15 different ways, or so they say). Even though I inherently knew that I could push myself more, I decided to sleep and hope for the best. Note to self: NEVER HOPE FOR THE BEST. Prepare for the worst (and that’s how we succeed). When it comes to this competitive scene in academia, making yourself adaptable to conditions and creating every mechanism possible to ensure your safety is crucial to success. Pessimism is actually a good thing (because it motivates you more). While most people are motivated by the positives, I’d say inherently we’re motivated by the negatives. “If I don’t do this, then this, this and this will happen” (or the opposite: If I do this, then this, this and this will happen).
Where my psychology majors at? You’ve got some explainin’ to do.
Good luck UIC! This fall semester is basically over. You can be happy that you survived and happy that you’ll be alive to survive the next one. (: