Hi Gaels,

I hope September and the first part of October have treated you nicely. I’ve been rained on a lot recently because of the erratic weather and lack of umbrellas. But I’ve also seen more rainbows than ever before.

In my last blog, I wrote about how excited I was for my ECON 112 and MTHE 351 courses. Despite my enthusiasm, I dropped ECON 112. With seven classes, my course load was just too heavy. So I said goodbye to ECON. I’m pleased with the outcome: I have more time to focus on my other courses and understand the content in more depth; I can spend more time recharging from schoolwork; and I simply do not have seven courses to attend! I’d rather focus on six courses rather than feeling immediately burnt out with seven. And even six is a lot.

My current classes have felt like the weather: a mix of clouds and rainbows. My degree is fun and rewarding, but it is also hard. Sometimes I walk out of a class feeling incredibly confused and discouraged. But sometimes I feel confident and excited about the material. I think it’s essential to spend time doing difficult things, but it is also important to do something you’re good at.

For example, I left my Complex Variables class the other day feeling upset and stressed because the material was…well, complex (even if it’s cool and I find it interesting). I had my Probability lecture immediately after and left that lecture feeling better and happier because I understood the content. If I spent all my time on my strengths (Probability), I wouldn’t have time to work on my weaknesses (Complex Variables). Yet if I spent all my time on my weaknesses, I would become unhappy focusing only on the things that frustrate me. This is why electives, clubs, and people are so important – they’re a break from the difficult things that school demands of us. Enjoy your strengths and your downtime so you’re ready to tackle the more challenging areas!

Moving beyond course selection and balance, I’m already thinking ahead. I know it is only October, but it is NEVER too early to start organizing and studying for exams.

Starting early is something new that I want to try this year, so feel free to join me! I’ve been working on my time management a lot this semester (here are some resources for time management!), and I believe I can start prepping for exams now. That doesn’t mean hardcore studying. It means organizing and feeling in control.

If I start organizing a little now, my efforts will continue to add up as final exams approach. Some things I’m already thinking about:

  • What are the topics I’ve learned in each class so far? Can I answer a few basic questions about them? (This is a form of spaced practice!)
  • How am I going to study? Will I use a planner? Who will I study with?
  • What are the resources I have to hand? Practice problems? Old exams?
  • What is my best study method? Do I like studying at night at home? At Stauffer? With or without coffee?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have all these questions answered and all the resources you need come December when you’re starting to go into exam mode?

Alas, this is all easier said than done, but I will be here talking you through my own prep in the next few weeks. Let’s do this together and try our best to stay balanced, prepared, and confident.

See you next time, Gaels!

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