December will be advancing on its mid-region by the time you read this article. Quick year, you agree? In barely two months since we returned, we have gone through lectures, tests, and extracurriculars, in no truly definable order. But tempting as it might be to believe otherwise, the festivities are no other than a masked prelude to examinations. Come January, we will ride shotgun into those halls again. If you have not begun preparations or, even worse, considered them, these strategies should bring you back on stream.
This is the default exam response policy. Take a look at your schedule; focus deliberately on the parts that take time out of your usual study sessions, your ability to meet assignment deadlines. Have you been so consumed by non-academic roles that you have not been able to devote adequate time? Are there occasions where you were thoroughly overwhelmed to the point of coming up short?
If your answers to these are a yes, then you want to take a breather – and early too. We get that you think yourself an Israel Adesanya at facing odds and looking good while at it, but considering that the famed martial artist was defeated by a mean slip-up, it is a fair assessment to say that you could too.
Cutting down responsibilities applies differently across levels. For newcomers, i.e. freshmen, the picture is more of membership in multiple, unlikely-to-be-properly-considered organizations. For stalites, there is a more nuanced trajectory. And there is, of course, the demands of the organizations to consider too. Whatever the case, your assessment of personal responsibilities will be influenced by the level of work you are expected to invest in. An exco at one or two organizations will have a tackier path to making these necessary decisions by default.
Members on the other hand should look into their commitments to teams, and their delivery of tasks, without excluding their long-term objectives in that/those organizations. For us, the best option for members is communication. Interacting with the hierarchy on the demands of your academic life and even offering to compensate subsequently will still put you ahead of the rabble in the balancing game.
For executive members, particularly the double zero ones of organizations, forward planning is an essential trait. Being a leader means that you are able to see far ahead something your members wouldn’t. It also means applying these insights to guarantee team success whilst acknowledging the pressures of the campus environment. Long talk? What it basically means is that you should ideally have plans for helping your team to a soft landing. This also extends to your person too.
Our picture of an optimal team is one where responsibilities are nicely delegated, communication is 85% at a minimum, and personal lives proceed bearably for everyone. If your team works finely, we’ll bet you are safe too. Otherwise, don your thinking cap for the next few days and figure out an end for the semester. You can use the interlude to re-strategize.
Covering Bulky Materials
Without a doubt, a large percentage of the university population is probably facing this. So, maybe you do have some company in this misery. Knowing that another affair you want to have company in is going through your books. The time is far spent already. You can only go so far alone. To ease things, partner with classmates to know what they are reading. The peacock-ing days are over, for now, proud friend. Engage in conversations about courses, working your way up from a broad overview to more specific topics in the outline.
Keep an eye on group pages for conversations; they will not always have the sweetest updates, but they are easily the best places to obtain general information. As for those members of the class that are natural-born lords in academics, get in touch as much as possible. Smile at them more often if you need to. Trust us, you will find that much easier than recovering decimals on your Grade Point Average.
On a personal level, you do not want to delay starting. Conversations with friends and seniors, depending on your level, will tell you a lecturer’s favorites. If you have been missing classes, they will also enlighten you on important things that the lecturer said. This helps with figuring out areas that will likely show up on the examination sheet. Students in the arts may have less time for drafting comprehensive notes and as such might need to replace this with hard-copy materials.
There, you can underline or highlight points of interest. For topics you feel are unlikely to appear but are still best read nonetheless, you could work with study partners. Exchanging information on what you all know will not only help with recall, but it will also expose you to formerly unfamiliar territory. Bear in mind that this is a firefighting approach. You should ideally try to exhaust everything that the lecturer taught.
Word on the street is that KDL and related centers are pulling numbers. In your hall, you might already be witnessing a scaled-down version of this in congested, stuffy reading rooms. There are advantages to this. First, setting up at lecture theatres and libraries should get you in the mood. You could derive motivation from other people’s focus and tune out distractions that would normally exist. You could also have friends that will give you the needed tap when you’re caught snoozing.
On the flip side, there are location-specific issues to worry about. The reading rooms aren’t such a friendly place, depending on your hall. Cramped spaces, as we said, are a perennial problem at these locations, and dispersed as they might be across floors and hostel blocks, they do enable the comforts that you might ordinarily prefer. Inadequate chairs and faulty wall sockets are two common hindrances.
A similar issue obtains at theatres and the main library. They all tend to overflow with students, especially those at faculties that allow students that aren’t with them. The result here is that while there is theoretically some expanse, the sheer numbers will occupy wall sockets – discouraging study on your devices – generate distracting noise, and compel you to share ventilation that the current season already renders scant.
Now, you are probably conflicted. You do not wish to study in your room because that is “grad-icide,” neither are the other options utterly comforting. What you end up choosing should reflect your reading style. If your trust that you’re better off in your personal space, go for it; if your objectives are worth the sockets and ventilation scenario, then you should certainly go for it as well.
The days of reckoning deserve a mention of their own. While the above preparations are obviously directed at the exam period, some specifics might still be ignored. The first is the arrival time at examination centres. The usual requirement is thirty minutes to the start of the paper. This affords you the opportunity to settle into the environment and possibly discard problems you could have encountered if you had arrived breathlessly into the examination hall. You could also arrive an hour prior. The thirty-minute benchmark might have you face-to-face with invigilators already calling names.
Additionally, keeping your identity card and course form around is an important safeguard. While you may not be required to present either, they could still prove useful in disputes. Ensure that you are properly dressed and have a modest hairstyle as well.
Time management will play a crucial role in the coming days. Being the end of the year, it is hard to ignore the fact that school or not, lives continued and people worked hard. That fact alone is enough to get you on the enjoyment train. However, those entire days you take off for your frolic can leave imprints on your results sheet. We know it is hard; but we also know that if we somehow manage to enjoy the season with one eye on textbook pages, we should not be far off course.