September 23, 2009 4:53 PM
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Washing hair and academic semesters are similar. Semesters always go through the same set of stages, always in the same order. Washing your hair always goes in the same order, just like the academic year.
There's the beginning stage (or as I like to call it, the "I-can't-believe-that-90-minute-lecture-just-flew-by" stage) where class is exciting (because it's new) and since it's the beginning of the year there aren't many assignments. The lax atmosphere of this portion of the semester often causes student to ignore homework and studying because they're too busy catching up with friends or getting back into the academic swing of things. I think that it's probably easier to slack off at this point of the year because as far as students are concerned, exams are a whole month away at this point.
Then there's stage 2 or the "We-have-a-midterm-next-week?!" stage. Every year the first round of midterms never ceases to sneak up on me. After settling into the routine for the semester and getting comfortable with the (seemingly) easy pace of things, the professors casually mention the upcoming midterm in the following week. I personally think they probably enjoy the expressions of shock, confusion and terror that this announcement leaves on their students' faces. This is the part where you realize that you're going to be held accountable for all of the things that you should have been studying over the past 3 weeks.
Stage 3 is the First Round of Midterms. This is where everyone learns that they should have studied harder (or at the very least attempted to study). Junk food consumption increases (Yay for Mountain Dew and KitKat dinners!), the amount of sleep decreases and dirty laundry piles up.
Stage 4 is the Crap-I've-got-to-work-harder-and-get-a-better-score stage. After getting the scores back on the first set of midterms there is a cloud of general malaise hanging over the campus. Most students, especially freshmen, go into full panic mode when they learn that their score on the test directly reflects their underestimation of the difficulty of the course.
Stage 5 is where students relax and begin to feel better about their first midterm score and begin to slack off again.
Repeat Stages 3, 4, and 5 for however many midterms are involved in the course.
Stage 6 is the full blown Finals Panic Mode. A later blog entry will cover this stage in detail.
Stage 7 is the post-finals nirvana/grade results anticipation. There's nothing quite like the feeling of walking out of the last final for the semester and being done. Even if you do poorly on that last test, at that point there is nothing further that you can do. All there is to be done is to greet the vacation with open arms.
Lather, rinse, repeat for each semester.
If only surviving college was as easy as following directions on a shampoo bottle!
Leighna, thanks for great tips!
Posted by Max | 2010-02-04
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