Midterm Smörgåsbord: Nutella, Notes, & New Expectations

I am having blog writer’s block so I apologize for the delay. It didn’t really occur to me (although it should have) that writing a blog to appear on the William and Mary website would increase the probability that people would read it instead of my thoughts just quietly disappearing into the noise of cyber sphere. I’m just a tad mortified that you now can picture me singing “Sweet Child of Mine.” That being said, I appreciate all of you who commented or told me you saw/read my blog.  Let’s just pretend the singing didn’t happen, okay?

Onward and upward…

I can hardly believe it’s November – Thanksgiving is only weeks away, I’m registered for classes for the spring semester, and finals are fast approaching. It is only now that the ink has dried, the grades are recorded, and enough time has passed that I can talk about midterms.

One of my most intimidating experiences so far as a freshman has been preparing for and taking midterm exams. It was fairly daunting to prepare for tests that count for about 40% of my final grade especially when I really had no way to gauge what a college-level exam or paper looked like. This was my first opportunity to show my professors what I had been learning in the past two months and I was anxious to prove myself capable of meeting the demanding expectations of my new environment.

My midterm smorgasbord included a multiple-choice exam, in-class essay, and take home essay (my fourth class didn’t have a midterm). Because Swem and I haven’t found a comfortable relationship yet – it’s too quiet and too loud all at the same time – studying took place in my room. I attempted to put together a plan of attack: an hour of reviewing my Gospel of John freshmen seminar notes, fifteen minute Nutella and cracker break, two hours memorizing the visual cortex for psychology, etc. Essentially, I studied. I made flash cards. The Chicago Manual of Style “Frequently Asked Questions” page was a constant tab on Internet Explorer. I turned in my paper. I took my exams. I held my breath.

And then something really wonderful happened – I realized why I came to William and Mary. We are lucky enough to be at a school where professors care about us. My exams were graded by professors. In one class, my professor made time for each of us to come in for a one-on-one meeting to discuss our strengths and weaknesses as a writer. He took the time to ask me how I was adjusting to college and gave me some great advice on what to major in. In another, my professor wrote several paragraphs in response to my essay. I would bet that some of the larger schools around us are simply unable to extend such a personalized education due to their size.

It is in receiving feedback rather than just a numerical grade that I feel the desire to learn more, to do better, and to work harder when finals roll around. I know where and how to improve.  Now it’s only a matter of putting in the hours… Wish me luck!



Categories: Academics, Student Blogs
1 Comment
  1. Meara

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