Please, learn from our mistakes

Exam week horrors can ruin your whole semester of work. We’ve all been there. So go ahead and laugh at our mistakes, but remember them when you’re heading into the next two weeks. Maybe if someone learns something from our misfortune, it won’t have been in vain.

1. I had spent weeks working on my final project for my copy editing class. It was a critique of a local daily paper. I was finishing up my paper the night before it was due when my hard drive completely crashed. My laptop was only two years old, so this was completely unexpected.

Needless to say, the rest of my night was spent rewriting my entire paper in an all-night computer lab trying to keep all of my swearing inside my head so as not to disturb everyone else finishing their last-minute assignments.

Tip: It’s important to run diagnostic checks on your hard drive often. That, and don’t wait till the last minute to put the finishing whatever on your final assignment. Murphy’s Law will always get you.

2. As a journalist, I’m used to writing on deadline; actually, I think I thrive on it. My freshman year, I thought it would be a good idea to take that talent and apply it to the 10-page final honors English paper I had due at 8:55 a.m. the last day of the semester.

The evening before, after flipping though the library books I had the foresight to grab a few days earlier, I stocked up on coffee and Chex Mix and sat down to get started.

By 4 a.m., I was twitching from over-caffeination and instant messaging the insomniacs and fellow procrastinators to make sure my latest “insights” were at least in English.

Tip: Picking a topic — even if you do, indeed, write the thesis statement ahead of time — is not getting a head start on a paper or project. If you can’t get serious about a project early, do a little bit every day for a week. At least that gives you time to proofread and grab a couple hours of sleep.

3. I’m the kind of person who, without fail, leaves the most important projects and studying until nearly the last minute. I’ll clean my room, call my grandmother or refold all my socks — then, when there’s nothing left to do, I’ll get started. But the procrastinating doesn’t make me any more relaxed, so I freak out and stop eating until the work is done.

Freshman year, I thought I had it all figured out. I procrastinated, but at least I ate, or so I thought. If I had just looked at the nutrition content, I would have known that pretzel rods and Crystal Light don’t have enough energy to keep you going. So, I sat in my room, losing my mind and not getting any work done, until a friend dragged me out to lunch and practically force fed me.

Tip: If your procrastination habit can’t be kicked, at least make sure everything else is in order. Keep a supply of fruit and power bars nearby, and keep yourself nourished. You won’t get anything done with rock bottom blood sugar.

4. Nothing compares to studying the wrong material for a test. It gets worse when it is a final exam in college. During the spring semester of my freshman year, I did just that. Frontiers in Astronomy was the course. Our final exam was not cumulative, but it covered a large chunk of material. I spent a few hours studying a few chapters that we were not responsible for knowing. As I got through the exam, I realized that I had prepared wholly inaccurately. Luckily, the single-page cheat sheet that we were allowed saved the day.

Tip: I learned a valuable lesson about college that day. Always know exactly what you need to study.

5. I am a legendary procrastinator, so it is no surprise that I waited until the last minute to study for my history final. I made note cards, rewrote my notes and studied the texts my professor used for my class. When I arrived to my final, I was exhausted to the point of no return. I pulled an all-nighter, and it really took a toll on my ability to concentrate. When I started writing the essay portion of the test, my mind journeyed to every thought besides history. Suddenly, I was thinking how cozy I felt and how nice a nap would be. Unfortunately, my thoughts turned into reality, and I slept through part of the test period. I woke up feeling panicked and rushed. The studying paid off, but it would have been helpful to have the entire test period to complete the exam.

Tip: The moral of my tale is that all-night studying is never the way to go. It is impossible to finish a test to the best of your ability if you haven’t slept.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.