By Ratmir Izmailov
Most of us first-years agree that the Fall Semester was not easy on our nerves and brains. This is why it seemed interesting to the Campus Life section to gather opinions on the current one. We got comments from approximately a sixth of the first-year Euram students and found some thoughts were definitely more unanimous than others.
It usually is easier to deal with things when you have gone through them once. According to our survey, almost a third of respondents feel less pressure about succeeding in the upcoming midterms, and another third expressed no difference between the two. While there will always be people who are losing their minds over the exams, we can say that the absolute fear of the unknown that was present in October has decreased. Interestingly enough, 87% confessed that they have changed their attitude toward the midterms. Unfortunately for us, however, we will never know whether the students now care more or less about them.
Next, when it comes to knowing how well 1As are going to do, the crowd is divided almost equally. Slightly more people (46%) are less certain about succeeding, whereas 44% are more self-confident, despite the fact that on a later question 81% states that they are not well informed (to different degrees) about the format of upcoming exams. As it is shown, consistency is a peculiar phenomenon within our peers.
On the other hand, in regard to the previous semester, exactly a half was satisfied with the midterm format. By some coincidence, almost fifty percent are also happy with their results for the Fall semester. Can there be a link drawn between these two factors?
In our survey, there were a few questions about the different ways students prepare for the exams. When choosing a place, over 40% prefer to study in the library, a third would rather do it alone, and a fifth does not care about the place as long as they study with their friends. Few people opt for balance between revising on their own and in a group setting, so it is proved once again that versatility is rarely found even in such a diverse campus as Reims.
Apart from a place, the respondents vary in how they like to study. Out of 48 replies, 40 simply stuff their heads with as much information as possible, 21 people do self-evaluation tests, 11 revise through playing “games” with their friends, and 6 have 2As as a helping hand. Some people added that they benefit from post-its and the ‘blurting method’. However, a little more than half of the surveyed admitted that praying to God or any other superior entity may also help (at least psychologically). Who knew that sharing a square with a church and experiencing the Sciences Po workload would cause the resurgence of religiousness among the youth? Speaking of the workload needed not only to pass but to succeed in the exams, 60% say that it is unnecessarily heavy. What people have to do now, is find the other 40% and discover if they have any superpowers.
Lastly, we wanted to know people’s main struggles as well as find out some advice that may be helpful for readers this time around midterms. More than a half of answers are about problems with nerves and not having enough time to prepare in-between the midterms. Thankfully, this time round we only have two (ecological literacy nightmare excluded). Twenty people found waiting for the results rather intimidating, while a third was sleep-deprived. Other comments include struggling to find the study/life balance, having presentations during midterm season, and dealing with the imposter syndrome. Only one person claimed not to have any issues whatsoever, hence statistically only one in fifty Sciences Po students is unbothered by midterms.
For those of you, who would like to have some advice in preparing mentally and/or academically for Socio and PoliSci, we have gathered a few tips to get you through these next 2 weeks:
- Don’t try to learn everything. Only learn what you know you will potentially use. Look for examples in the news
- Sleep. Like, a lot.
- Trust yourself
- Give in and drink Coke Zero
- Focus on the more important, don’t be preoccupied with too much details, and do mock exams
- Stay alive.
- Don’t do it last minute
- As a last minute (like day before) learner my tips are truly bad but I think just active recall is the best and the only way to effectively learn, and considering that if I can explain a concept to someone then I’m good.
- Low calorie, high caffeine diet is both budget and energy efficient (pls send help)
- Start revisions early and do not stay alone because it can affect your mental health (dealing with pressure alone).
- In the end, 80% of what we learn we won’t need
We hope that this article brought a bit of lightness to this uneasy period of time. We wish you good luck with your exams!
Ratmir Izmailov and The Sundial Press