Even though people dread finals, I actually find a lot of excitement in preparation for those exams. Instead of thinking, “oh snap, I only got one week to learn everything from this semester,” I’m thinking, “here’s my chance to show the instructor how freaking brilliant I am (or crazy dumb but hardworking).” The only time I’ve ever bombed a final was when I had the flu and got into some crazy argument with someone close to me (who is not so close to me anymore, but it’s cool) the night before those two exams. You can probably read it in one of my earlier blogs, heh heh. I sure was full of range and naive back then!
Please, everyone, start your preparation one month before finals (It’s actually better if you start your studying on the first day of class, but who does that?). As much as I love to cram, it doesn’t work for everyone. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to cram and not everyone has that the night before the exam since they’re freaking out (as is expected). I stress and freak out too, but when you start to think about your goals and motivations and why you are even taking the time to go to college, it puts more perspective on what you strive to be and purpose in your education.
On another note, don’t be intimidated by others who are clearly excelling by their stressing. It’s really common to talk to someone about an exam or quiz, but the intention of doing so is usually to compare yourself with them and that can either boost your performance or weaken it a lot. I’m a bit wishy-washy when it comes to doing well or bad in class. I tend to underestimate “easy” classes and overestimate “hard” classes, so when I see myself doing well in a hard class I start to ease off on the studying (which makes me dip halfway through the semester and then I depend on the final to pull me up), and then when I start doing poor in an easy class I start to study a lot more (usually to do awesome but for this one Foods class I am taking…not so much!). I just want A’s in my science classes and I’ll be happy honestly.
So, I made a tough decision about my classes next semester. I deeply wanted to take the classes I had in mind (anatomy 2, biochem 2, polish 2, genetics lab), but that would have been 16 credit hours (not including research, and I was considering taking biology colloquium because I heard it rocks) and I would still be limited in the hours I put into research and my four other part-time jobs, in addition to the extra-curricular activities that I am a part of (did I mention MCAT studying?). I mentioned this in a blog post earlier but after picking up my MCAT books and restudying for everything again (slowly but surely), I felt that I needed to construct my priority list once more to focus on what it was I needed to keep in my for my last semester at UIC for undergrad.
My parents suggested that I should only take the class that I need to graduate, which would just be genetics lab (I pushed it off for far too long, haha!). They think I should focus only on studying for the MCAT, which is true, but that would be such a pointless semester! I want to take classes that I probably won’t get to take in medical school or have a chance to do until then. I also don’t think I would get financial aid for being part-time so that’d be another burned hole in my pocket. I discussed with a lot of friends and advisors, and clearly no one thinks I should take Polish. Even Polish people don’t think I should, lol!
But I talked to my roommate about it and she told me if I really wanted to take Polish, then I should! She definitely doesn’t think I should take 16 credit hours with all of my other obligations that I love to do/be a part of, so she suggested dropping biochemistry 2. After a quick thought, I instantly knew what was right! When she told me “well, it’s your last semester at UIC…you should enjoy it and do what you want,” I was set on taking Polish like I planned to since last year. My mood has been really upbeat since these decisions, even though I am super tired all the time with the late shifts I have at my scribing job at Rush. I just need to eat bananas and I’ll be good to go, haha! I think I only wanted to take biochemistry 2 to be challenged, but I heard the instructor was very monotone and boring (and that the class is insanely hard and you just memorize like a mad man). I’ll save it for medical school; after all, it’s not like they offer Polish language in medical school.
Live it up UIC! Undergraduate studies is a great place to explore what you love (and don’t love). I sure wish I got to experience even more, but I am happy with my path and can’t wait for next semester to be at my most fullest potential. If you’re not interested in school, well, at least you’ve got Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to look forward to. 2014, here we come!