lone pine
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Midterm season. Those couple of weeks where every time my head lifts from or falls onto my pillow my first and last thoughts are consumed by that three hours in which 25% of my grade in physics 14 (A VERY HARD CLASS THAT MAKES ME SAD SOMETIMES) and how unready I feel. Dartmouth has great instructors, but no matter the level of preparation we receive, doubt persists. The first thing I had to realise was that this is very normal and common!

I realised this in week 3 or 4 of last term — I was used to (as many here were) being able to generally figure out what to do in a class or an assessment, and yet here I was suddenly unable! I felt as though I didn't belong, or that I wasn't clever enough, when in reality everyone was feeling the same way! The classes are just harder in college and it's okay to find them hard! After speaking to others and having some rough learning curves in the first term, I found some really good ways of easing or dealing with the pains of midterms.

Snow fun!
Remember during midterms to take care and spend time with friends!

One of these is study groups, getting together with other people in your class or who have taken your class can be an amazing way to learn and feel much better — your peers are your greatest asset! Others who previously struggled may have a more personally intuitive way of understanding a complex topic, and worst case scenario you can at least be in the knowledge you aren't alone. Working with others also definitely improves your mental state; my friends are my saviours in many ways, and seeing them on a regular basis is super important to me.

Another top tip is finding a study space that is good for you! I find personally that when I study in the common room of my dorm building, I get nothing done, and so I like to take a trip out to a place I associate more with studying and with less distractions to get my work done. The library has a tonne of spaces that I've mentioned in previous blogs, but definitely don't think that they are all Dartmouth has to offer! The Black Family Visual Arts Center is a great space, as are The Onion, The Hop, and The Cube! These are all areas anyone can access and all provide unique and different vibes. 

Thirdly: OFFICE HOURS. Nuff said.

No but seriously if you are falling behind or 'considering jumping in the snow' or 'letting the frost consume you' (all quotes from friends of mine); GO SPEAK TO YOUR PROFESSOR. PLEASE!! It might sound futile at the time, but professors are humans with hearts and they do actually care about us students even if we can't recite every physics equation by heart alphabetically by who discovered them. Most professors will work with you by scheduling study sessions and walking you through practice problems, and it makes a huge difference!

How midterms have me feeling sometimes (Credit to Giana for laying in the snow)

Lastly, campus has a tonne of non-academic ways to feel better during stressful times such as but also beyond midterms and finals seasons. These come from a tonne of facets, from meditation and yoga with the wellness centre, to regularly scheduled events at Collis, to hikes/skiing/winter sports through the DOC, to even just coffee and root beer events at FOCO, there is something for everyone! We all need to remember to take time for ourselves – especially during midterms, and these are great ways to do just that.

Overall, Dartmouth is hard. It is in fact, very hard. This isn't to dissuade you though, it is hard because faculty care about us truly understanding and learning the subject matter that they present to us. Professors want us to do well, and by persevering through and working at the tips I include here, you can really thrive! Dartmouth also, however, is a place where we are encouraged to think beyond the classroom and generate our own meaningful experiences with others. This is the essence of Dartmouth, and so please, get to sleep and stop worrying about that midterm!

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