Studying, snacking, and [not] sleeping: Our 2019 midterm survival guide

By The Pitt News Staff

Another midterm season is upon us, and this one feels tougher than ever. Maybe it’s the awful gray weather or the unwavering anticipation for a well-deserved spring break, but most of us Pitt students are lacking motivation to attack our midterms with confidence and hours of studying under our belts. For a guide to get through these upcoming stressful weeks, take a look at the following tips from the Pitt News culture desk.

Plan a reward for yourself for when exams are over // Sarah Connor, Culture Editor

As a writing major, I hate studying. While most Pitt students prefer to sit in Hillman with stacks of flash cards up to their chin, memorizing that “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” instead of writing a 12-page paper, I disagree. I will do research for an essay and bang out a 15-page masterpiece in one night, but I really can’t be bothered to concentrate on flash cards, study guides, Quizlets and PowerPoints for hours on end. Nothing will put me to sleep quicker.

This semester, I have been cursed with a couple midterm exams instead of papers, so I am attempting to keep myself motivated with rewards for myself when I’m done studying and taking tests. It sounds pretty juvenile, like when first-grade teachers promise their students candy if they can behave well during a school assembly, but it does work.

Right now, I’m telling myself that once I have successfully completed my last midterm, I will turn my laptop off, shut all my notebooks, put them in my backpack and then not open it for 24 hours. I’m not sure what I’ll do in that 24 hours — maybe I’ll go bar-hopping with friends, or maybe I’ll marathon “Queer Eye” for an entire day and not leave my bed. Both options seem extremely satisfying to me, and I’m looking forward to the brain-rest. Having a reward and a goal set makes it easier for me to get through the agony of studying, and I highly recommend this method to my fellow test-haters.

Suck it up and suck up some extra espresso // Janine Faust, Managing Editor

I don’t love or hate coffee. I tolerate it. I drink the bitter concoction because between my job, my internship and my early-morning lectures, I have to. I usually try to hide the bitter taste of espresso as much as possible, ordering only strawberry acai refreshers, a caramel cappuccino with extra milk and lattes. But when a time like midterms rolls around, I sacrifice my tastebuds for the sake of that sweet, sweet, bittersweet wake-up juice.

How else am I supposed to stay up late or, even scarier, wake up early for last-minute cram sessions without adding two to three extra shots of espresso to my usual order? That’s right, I still order one of the same, like, five things — I don’t need the added pressure of taking a risk and ordering a new type of drink, I’ve got three exams and three papers.

If you’re like me and prefer your coffee to not taste like coffee, just learn to plug your nose during midterms and gulp the real deal down. It’ll help you keep your eyes open and your brain moving long enough to get out a few more pages of writing or go through a stack of flash cards. After spring break, we’ll have a brief period where we can enjoy our caramel brulee with extra milk again — until finals week, that is.

Get to Hillman and get grinding // Shahum Ajmal, Layout Editor

Midterm season comes and goes, but your GPA stays forever. So, although my advice may or may not be something you want to hear right now, give me a chance.

Unlike finals, when everyone on campus is going through it together in some way or another, midterm season comes in early February for some and the middle of March for others. Thus, it’s crucial for you to surround yourself by those in your classes and friends with similar schedules to motivate you through this tough, yet temporary time.

Once you have your study squad assembled, get coordinating and make your way to Hillman. Next, figure out what floor — ground through second if you’re trying to talk more than study and perhaps work on a horrendous group project.

If group work isn’t your thing or not on your syllabus this semester, I hear you. So, first stop by Cup & Chaucer and then make your way to the fourth floor. Ideally, you’ll find a table where you can dissociate and become truly in tune with yourself and your material under lighting that washes out your skin.

Just know that you’re not alone, and this time will, too, come to an end. Until finals week, my friends, stay strong, and may your coffee cups remain full, GPAs stay above a 3.0 and eye bags stay subtle. In this moment, I’m thinking that maybe I should take some of my own advice.

Snack through the late nights // Sarah Cutshall, Visual Editor

Working at The Pitt News and trying to study for midterms can require late nights. Most of us will not be able to survive any late night without a trip to go get some food. When you live in a residence hall, options are limited. You either choose to suffer through a lonely meal at Market while your friends are cozy at home, or grab something quick and easy at Market-to-Go.

It seems like a good idea — grab something quick, then maximize time by eating while you work. And then you walk through the dreaded double doors between the Towers patio and Forbes Avenue. You’re hit with a wall of grease that suggests you might just be in a lukewarm fryer yourself.

For me, it’s worth the wait to just go to Quick Zone in Sutherland on my way back to Irvis. If you don’t want to wade through your long nights studying feeling as bad as the Market-to-Go grease you smell like, I’d suggest it’s worth the hike up the hill. A made-to-order sub from the friendliest Sodexo employees you’ll meet is worth the walk — especially when you consider you just burned off all the extra calories you ingested by walking up there.

Leave a comment.