The end is nigh….for ENGL 205 (I’m pretty sure it is not the apocalypse yet, although the folks on Doomsday Preppers would probably disagree with me).
In the final days before the exam, I want to remind all of you how important it is to be practicing self-care. For many of you, this will be the last exam before the summer; that unequivocally means that you are sleep-deprived, worn down, and are possibly questioning why you are in university in the first place. Its hard to pay attention to your emotional and physical wellness when academics feels like the bigger priority. I am guilty of this as a grad student (and I was definitely guilty of it as a undergrad).
If you are stressed in the lead up to the exam, it is more important than ever to make sure you are checking in with yourself to see how you are really doing. Taking care of yourself first and foremost is a priority, and it is just as important as studying to ensure that you own that final. Garrett recommended taking breaks as an important part of studying—and he’s right; taking that mental break will allow you to come back to studying with fresh eyes (I’m sure there’s some psychological study out there about taking breaks—I don’t have time to find it for you, but let’s pretend I quote some statistics to back myself up).
As well as taking breaks, make sure you are doing all the other things you need to do to make sure you walk into ST135 on Monday ready to nail the ENGL205 final. This means eating right (eat all the brainfood), exercising (channeling my inner bro: “f**k stress, bench press”), and treating yourself to a few of Oprah’s favourite things (bubble baths and chai tea?).
SLEEP. Do not pull an all-nighter the night before the exam. Getting enough sleep is going to be critical—it will allow you to mentally recover from all the studying you have been doing, but also to process what you have learned (again, insert psychological study about sleep).
I’ve never been a great test taker; timed exams give me anxiety. I used to always have the “end is nigh” mindset walking into an exam. What helped me get over test-taking anxiety was putting things into perspective. The end is NOT nigh. Even if I fail the exam, it is not the end of the world. You are not any less of a wonderful, thoughtful, dedicated, and intelligent student just because you didn’t do well in the exam. The grades that you receive are not a reflection of who you are, so don’t let a bad grade stall your confidence.
Having said that, remember that we’ve given you the tools to unpack a text and we’ve given you the tools to write a strong essay. This isn’t a course where we’re testing you on the right or wrong answer. ENGL 205 has been about developing critical thinking and being able to effectively argue your interpretation of the text. You are absolutely capable of doing this.
All of us are cheering you on—from all the ideas that have been floating around in tutorial and on the blog and all the insightful discussions that we had in the review session, I am confident that all of you are going to slay this final.