This is the third blogisode of College Chronicles, a blog-based reality show in which we follow real students struggling to balance academics with the rest of their life. Click here for the full series archive.
Leena* just started her junior year at MIT and she needs the new semester to go well. True to its reputation, MIT’s brutal pace recently extracted its due:
Last term I sort of had a meltdown during my finals week. I changed my major, quit my job, and decided to go premed. So I really need to do well this term
To stave off another academic disaster, Leena knows where changes will have to be made:
I have abysmal study habits. I don’t attend class particularly regularly. If I do go, I take notes…but then never actually look at them again. I tend to start studying for tests maybe 2 days before I take them, and I tend to start homework either the day its due, or the day before the day its due. When actually studying, since I start so late and am so stressed, I don’t do a very thorough job.
MIT culture is notorious for encouraging students to get by with terrible habits. “You started at midnight? Loser. I started at 2!” But, as the story so often unfolds down here on the Charles, this only can last for so long.
It somehow managed to work for a while until last term, when I took a particularly heavy courseload which, with my study skills, I just flat out could not handle.
Time For a Change
I bought How to Become a Straight-A Student this summer and am going to do my best to apply some of the methods. I’ve been practicing using the 5 minute time management method…I’ve used it consistently for 2 weeks now, and I’ve noticed that I’ve become much more realistic about what I can accomplish in a day, so I wind up a lot happier with what I do accomplish.
In a perfect world, my academic life would be one in which I didn’t pull all nighters and I felt prepared when I walked into exams. I think that I would be really happy if I could honestly say that I was doing the best that I could be doing, and that was resulting in good grades without intense sleep deprivation or depression.
Will Leena’s new found appreciation for tactical studying repair the damage of her spring meltdown? Can the MIT beast be tamed without all-nighters? How will her life change after our mid-semester academic intervention? Stay tuned this fall to find out.
* not her real name