Just Do It!

confidenceMidterms. It has been the bane of existence for many students this past month, myself included. Between grocery shopping and doing laundry, studying for midterms has become another regular chore on the to do list. Thankfully midterm season is almost over. The waves of stress will hopefully subside for a while before finals roll along. As of this moment, many of my own classes have not released their midterm results. That uncertainty from not knowing how you did on a test is really quite bothersome. It can make people worry and wonder about how they did on the midterm, and if they didn’t, if they made the wrong choices that got them to that result somewhere along the line.

Before coming to McGill, I had read up on some of the classes that I planned on taking and what they were like. Some of the comments that I had found were very unsettling to me. For instance, some commenters claimed that it was almost impossible to get a very high GPA due to taking certain classes. Some other commenters claimed that it was actually very possible to maintain a high GPA as they themselves did—however this meant putting in a lot of work and studying for many hours a day for several days a week or two before the midterm/exam. The latter’s assertions are quite reasonable; I mean, it only makes sense that if someone puts that much time into studying that they should be able to succeed, right?

During orientation week in August, I had dropped in to see the Science Advisors about my courses. The advisor who heard about my plans immediately encouraged me to lighten up my course load and not take courses that were unnecessary to what I planned on majoring in. When I mentioned the possibility of doing extracurriculars and potentially working part time, the advisor cautioned against doing that if I wanted to keep a GPA that was not atrociously low.

I like to think that the advisor gave this advice with my best interests in mind. However, I’d also like to say that the advisor’s advice, along with the comments from previous students on the studying needed/difficulties of courses, should be taken with a grain of salt. Everything really depends on the individual. The difficulty of the classes, the amount of things that a student can handle—it is not the same for everyone.

Actually, I currently know a few people who are taking a full course load and also working part time as well. My friend who is in first year and also in Science works over 14 hours a week and has a full course load. Someone else I know has a really cool job where they must travel out of Montreal for a few hours per week/two weeks. Working definitely takes a chunk out of time, but anything worthwhile is going to take time. It’s unavoidable. So what to do about it? Manage time wisely. There are many ways to go about this. Make a schedule, limit unnecessary activities (like maybe not binge watching youtube videos), or be more efficient (cleaning your room super quickly like in the Big Comfy Couch!).

It is always difficult to find a balance between how many activities/work one can handle before everything becomes too much. But if there are activities you really want to do and you have confidence that you can succeed, just do it. The same goes for studying—just do it. Procrastinating on it doesn’t help at all. Find what works for you, whether it be rewriting notes or group study sessions, and go for it. Regardless of what others advise you, you make the final decision on what you do. A really nice quote by Goethe says a lot: “Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” So think about it…for a bit. Then go for it.


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