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6 March 2006

That Didn’t Go the Way I Planned

Seems like every three weeks or so, most of my exams run into each other, kind of in clumps as the classes progress at about the same rate. That is, I’ll usually have all four to five exams within a week or so of each other.

I kind of enjoy this because it gives me a luxury of a week or two off leading up to the tests where I don’t have to study nearly as much, if at all. Maybe that’s what I think….

There’s a thing I wasn’t taught in high school, and to the chagrin of my high school teachers who all boast that their classes were taught “to prepare me for college,” I didn’t learn a lick of one important skill: studying.

It goes without saying that in college it’s more than important. It’s essential, and quite frankly, the cornerstone to success. Even when I think I’ve done all the studying I can do, I’m nowhere near my quota. My test grades generally come out all right to average, and I’m not struggling at any point, but there are the little things that I don’t catch in my readings that I could use in my studies and on my exams.

Entering those weeks, however, when there are multiple exams I mark down on a calendar the necessary steps that I must take to be prepared for each test.

I do the logical thing, and day-by-day, course-by-course, I space it out over the days leading up to the day of the test. It seems like it makes sense. If I study too much too soon, I’m likely to forget a portion of what I learned. (I’m just one of those who learns by cramming, I suppose.) So I make it a chapter a day or so and begin my scheduled readings for a test that might be on Friday.

Usually, however, there would be two tests on Friday, and generally one more important (or requiring more time than the other). My readings focus on the course needing my attention, but the balance is still made out.

Likely not. On the course of a typical night, I find myself taking extended breaks. I like to believe that I earn these breaks on the stipulation that I can sit down and type out a complete paper for English in two hours without stopping. But when I take off two hours to go eat with my friends and get back late to my studies, I usually put off whatever I’m behind on to the next day.

By Tuesday, if the tests are on Friday, I’ve already skipped readings on a chapter or two, but I’ve got all the time I need on Wednesday. It’s my open day.

Too bad I never get around to it because, after all, it’s my open day. No one ever wants to waste their entire week doing drab studies and coursework when they can be out with their friends, even if just for a while to toss around a football at Clark Field. It’s true.

But that night I have to get down to business on one course because it might be the next day. As I sit down at my desk to begin studies, my mind continues to wander and by the time I sleep I’ve entirely neglected one course, because I can study for that tomorrow, Thursday.

And that’s how it happens, putting off studies to focus on one when really it’s all just a disguise that I’m not taking all the time I can to study. I don’t think I’m alone.

I prefer to relate to the phrase “Too smart for a 2.0, too much fun for a 4.0,” and with a 3.0 grade-point average we charge the job market. But hey, I’ve got a degree, right?

Next time I’ll be sure to study more, or at least that’s what I say. The problem is that sometimes tests in different classes end up scheduled so close together. Then, we feel we’ve been studying for 23 straight days and that the next book we open for studying will be the spark to insanity. I’ve been there, and I think we all have been. I just reach that point a lot quicker than most.

My studies never go the way I want, though I do manage to complete my tasks. It’s just a hectic and crazy world of coursework I was never prepared to meet. But I meet it in stride ‘cause this I know is college.

They don’t call it “higher education” for nothing, and I’m proud to be a part.

I’m just ready for spring break.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at

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