The Real Semester Break Down

Today I was sitting waiting for my 11AM class to begin, already tired from finishing my 8AM class, looking through my calendar on my phone. Sometimes with all the hype of assignments and activities it is easy to forget what day it is or in my case what week it is. I somehow convinced myself that next week was Thanksgiving and we would be having Wednesday through Friday off from school. You can imagine how sad I was when I looked at my calendar and found out that next week was another full week of classes and assignments. This got me thinking about a typical semester in college and I think it can be broken down into a few simple sections. The NYU academic calendar will break down a semester by add/drop dates, school breaks and such, but this is the real lowdown on what a semester is like.

  1. The Beginning — full of welcoming back giddy, syllabi and joy because no one has any real responsibilities yet. This is a fantasy, a wonderful one, but don’t get stuck in it for the entire semester.  
  2. College Is Great — You are a few weeks in and no exams have happened yet so you haven’t begun studying outside of the classroom because what nerd would actually study when there is no exam in the immediate future (be that nerd). Everything is going just right you seem to be learning in class, what could possibly go wrong?
  3. Midterms — This is when panic sets in because you haven’t had any test or quizzes in class all semester and suddenly the midterm is tomorrow. (What did I say about being that nerd?)

(WARNING: Midterms will always feel like they are dragging on all the way until finals and in some cases they actually will.)

  1. The Eye Of The Storm — You’ve just aced your midterms and you’re really happy, but in the back of your mind you know finals are just around the corner. This time may feel like section 2, but with more responsibilities and more homework.
  2. Finals? It Was Just Midterms? — This is when you look at a calendar and see only three weeks left in the semester and begin to panic once again because you stopped studying after the midterm.
  3. Sleep — What you get when the semester ends

I am currently on step 5 of the list and that is the point when you are in the final stretch of the semester. If there is any advice to give in all of this I would say that things happen out of nowhere. Midterms and finals alike just appear. One day you will sit in class and your teacher will say “reminder the midterm is next class” and your response will be “wait wasn’t it just the first class.” I would recommend putting the midterm and final dates right into a calendar as soon as you get them (they usually are listed on the syllabus the first day of class). Even having a countdown app that will notify you every week would be an amazing investment. Section 2 is wonderful, but it is important to remember to be keeping up with the work and studying outside of the classroom, it isn’t always enough to just go to class and take notes.

In conclusion there is still one more week until Thanksgiving and I just have to push through all this work and before I know it I will be stuffing my face at the Thanksgiving table with my family. Right now I am in the “eye of the storm” and I know finals are coming in just a few weeks so maybe it is time for me to take my own advice and start studying. That advice is easier said than done.  


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