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Dear Diary

March 4, 2011

A Student’s Reflection on:

The Ultimate Weeks of Pain (also known as Midterms)

Yes, it is that time again. Oh joy! And as the Midterm cycle begins yet again, I thought it would be nice to take a little trip down memory lane to reflect on how I was feeling at this point last semester.


Midterms. That time of the school year when your brain turns to mush. Two weeks of cramming, mental stress, and a lack-of-sleep-induced-delirium. Fun stuff. But to be fair, they did warn us.

I smelled like I hadn’t showered in two days…probably because I hadn’t showered in two days. Or maybe it was three, but to be honest, I lost track. I’d taken to hiding out in my cave of a room with its lack of natural sunlight, only venturing out into public to cross the street to attend classes. Once in awhile I’d change it up and park myself on the couch. I had the perfect rump groove established for a while. It was quite the achievement, if I do say so myself.

Staying wired on caffeine resulted in me staring all owl-eyed at my books, even at 2am. I’m pretty sure my brain wasn’t even capable of absorbing knowledge at that time of night… or morning, however you like to look at it. Cranial nerves, fundamental frequencies, and developmental stages, ran over and over again in my mind. There was so much to remember, it seemed impossible. The professors kept telling us how important it was to get a good sleep for memory consolidation and all that jazz. Put that entorhinal cortex of yours to work (oh hey, I did learn something!). But, my argument was that if I hadn’t even looked at that section of notes yet, I wouldn’t have any memories to consolidate.

I kept thinking that I should be used to this; four years of undergrad should have prepared me for something! Yet, the first set of tests seemed the most daunting because we didn’t yet know what to expect. Once we got a feel for how tricky our professors liked to be, it was a breeze! Ok, not a breeze, but a little less intimidating.

As I walked closer towards the classroom on the day of the first exam, a sudden feeling of anxious terror consumed me. I had to keep telling myself that at that point I could only do what I could do, and pray a little that my brain had decided not to abandon me. Thankfully it was over before I knew it. But no time for rest just then, the processes for the next was starting all over again.

After two weeks of mental pain, Thursday finally arrived. I’d been counting down to that day at 2:30pm- our exact moment of freedom. Pure, sigh of relief, hope-I-didn’t-bomb-that, freedom.

And hey, now that we’ve got our marks back, I didn’t do nearly as bad as I thought. Luckily, I knew more than I thought I did. All that stress for nothing. You did me proud brain. Did me proud.

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