9 Tips on How to Study for Midterms

          Everyone tells you that college goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s a common phrase you learn to put in the back of your mind, until one day college is here. The first six weeks of college truly did go faster than I expected. Every week that passed by just meant I was getting closer and closer to midterms.

         Before all the exams started, I told myself I would study a week before each one. That would leave enough time for me to study little chunks of information without overloading my brain. At the same time, that also left me with more time to procrastinate in between. If I knew I didn’t have a lot to study, then I told myself it was okay to start studying the next day. Ultimately, I made the not so smart decision to go home on the weekend I had a midterm that following week. I believed at the time that I would study at home and I had three full days to study when I got back. In the end I didn’t study at home, had to cram for my test, and was stuck playing catch up for all the homework I pushed aside.

         Sometimes the best way to be successful is learning from your mistakes, and I did exactly that. I learned the hard way how to correctly study for my exams.

9 Tips on How to Study For Midterms

  1. DON’T GO HOME ON THE WEEKENDS: You need every day, especially the weekends, to study and do homework.


2. CREATE FLASHCARDS, SLIDES, OR ANY PRACTICE MATERIAL WHILE LEARNING THE MATERIAL: This will give you less steps to take when it comes time to actually study the material.

    • Example: In psychology I create Quizlets, online flashcards, for all the comprehensive questions that are at the end of the chapters. Creating them right away helps me to review and be prepared for midterms.
    • When it comes time to study, they’re already made. I don’t have to spend extra time reading through all the chapters to find the questions, make the quizlet, and then study.


  1. STUDY IN CHUNKS: Don’t try to study 3 chapters, unless they’re small, all at once. Maybe read one, take a break, and then read another. You’re more likely to understand the information because you’re not tiring out your brain.


  1. TEST YOURSELF: In psychology, it’s been proven that the best way to learn information is to test yourself. Instead of reading the text/notes, writing it down, and reviewing you have to physically find a way to take the information and challenge yourself. There are multiple ways to test yourself. Find what works best for you.


5. USE INCENTIVES: Reward yourself after a hard day of studying. This is a great way to get yourself to push through your work and have a delicious treat. After I’ve done my studying, I tell myself I can get a large drink at Starbucks. It feels good knowing I earned the drink.

    • Something as simple as I can look at my phone after an hour of studying or I’ll watch an episode of Netflix can be rewards as well.


  1. PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY: The easiest way to get distracted is by having your phone close enough for you to check it. Every 5 minutes you might spend replying to snapchats or scrolling through Instagram can add up really fast. Before you know it, you wasted at least 30 minutes looking at your phone.
    • Place your phone in your backpack or leave it in your room if you’re just going down the hall to your lounge.


  1. FIND THE BEST LOCATION TO STUDY: Personally, I can only study if there aren’t a lot of people around and the environment is very quiet. A crowded area makes me want to people watch and even small talk interrupts my thinking. Find where you like to study; the library, your dorm, a lounge, etc. and try to go there every day for a couple hours.


  1. SLEEP: Sleep is the most common tip that we’ve learned throughout our education. It seems redundant because everyone knows we can’t function without sleep, but sleep is just as crucial as studying. Not only go to bed early the night before the test, but the whole week before. You’ll form a sleep routine that makes it easier to go to bed early the night of the test.


  1. RELAX: You’ve studied really hard for your exam and stressing can cause you to make silly mistakes. Typically, you’re given between an hour or two to take the test. Use up all time and double check all your work.

Follow some of these tips and you’ll be sure to perform great on your tests!

Visiting Home

This past weekend my dad drove all the way down to Iowa City and brought me back home. On Friday he drove 3 hours down and almost immediately drove 3 hours back. We arrived home around 8pm where we were greeted by my mom, my grandma, my two aunts, and my sweet dogs, Claire and Cooper.

Seeing my family in person was a gift in itself. In today’s generation we are so lucky to be able to call and video chat our family whenever we want to. Being able to FaceTime my parents has made the distance and transition to college a lot easier.

Back home my extended family has an apple orchard. The orchard was started by my grandpa and was passed on to my Aunts and Uncle. Together they have created a successful business that has become a family tradition for thousands of families. Almost my whole entire family -aunts, uncles, and cousins- work at the orchard. For me, it truly is a family tradition.

This past weekend was my first time being there this season. It was weird not being there in person on opening day. The orchard is a place I’d get food every day after school, hang out with friends, and work on the weekends. Essentially where my whole entire Fall is spent. Being able to visit, even for just a day, was something I wish I could bottle in a jar and keep forever in Iowa City.

I spent my day saying hello to all my friends and family, shopping, and eating LOTS of food. I am very fortunate that in my town it’s common for everyone from high school to work at the apple orchard. As a result, so many of my high school friends were working which allowed me to catch up with them all.

After saying all my hello’s, I went home to get ready for dinner. My 3 best friends and grandma came over to celebrate me being home. Our meal wouldn’t have been complete without our dessert coming from Molly’s cupcakes. As everyone already knows, Molly’s Cupcakes are delicious!!! I had to bring a little bit of Iowa City back home with me.

Coming back home was a little strange at first. I live in the middle of cornfields with the closest-small-grocery store about 13 minutes away. At Iowa, I am so used to being able to walk anywhere for food or Starbucks I might be craving. At home, I remembered how much quieter it is. There are no street-lamps on our road or people riding mopeds. It was a good change to walk outside and only see the cornfields across the street and the stars in the sky.

My weekend came and went in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it, I was back in the car for a 3-hour drive. It was a little strange being home the first night. I had my bedroom all to myself, no bathroom to share, and I could shower without wearing sandals on.

Nothing will ever compare to being home, but nothing will ever be the same as Iowa. I love Iowa for the late nights that never end, convenience of anything I need, and the school spirit the whole entire town possesses.

For lots of people home is like a nest. A safe place and somewhere you can always count on being welcomed. Personally, I knew after being away for 6 weeks I had to come home. Connect with my family and friends again. The weekend was the perfect length to “fly” back to my nest, and then head back into my adventure of college.

Detours Still Lead To Your Destination

One of the main reasons I came to Iowa was for the vast amount of opportunities they had to offer. Within the first week of being on campus, OnIowa reminded me of that. As all of the fun came to an end, I slowly grew sad. College was officially going to start but I wasn’t ready for it to begin. I would be waking up early to go to classes, finding time for meals, and doing homework in my spare time. I had to be responsible on my own, for no one was telling me what to do. As the first week went by, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I assumed. Waking up early helped me get a good start to the day, I always had meals prepared whenever I was hungry, and had plenty of time to do my homework.

I recently joined an organization called National Retail Foundation (NRF). I came across NRF through an email promoting their organization. Recently, all the organizations on campus have been promoting their group through emails hoping students will join. After weeks of emails, they all blur into one but NRF’s had caught my eye. It stated, “Are you interested in working for companies like Nike, Ulta, Amazon, Wal-Mart, or Kohl’s?” and I instantly read the entire email.

My dream is to work in the fashion industry. I had planned on staying at Iowa for my Freshman year and transferring to a fashion school. Only three weeks into staying at Iowa I realized that plan would change. My revised plan is to enroll in the Tippie College of Business where I will learn the marketing side of fashion.

The NRF program will give me connections and an insight to the consumer side of the companies. We will hear from speakers in the retail industry and take professional trips to other cities. This past Wednesday our organization video chatted with Brian Lemek from Aldi. He works in logistics, which essentially means he helps make sure all items that are being transported to and from Aldi are being shipped on a timely matter. We were able to ask him personal questions and he gave us advice on the right steps to take with our future careers.

I came to Iowa because I knew that they would have so many opportunities to help me grow as a student and an individual. I’ll always remember a peer of mine from high school asked me where I was going after graduation. I told her Iowa and her immediate response was, “Really? I feel like you can go farther than that.” It did make me think twice about the decision at the time. Was I capable of more and just didn’t know it? Should I have a chosen an ivy league school? Without a doubt no. I can whole heartedly tell anyone that Iowa is a school that pushes you to be your best and wants to see you succeed.

Iowa might not have a fashion program, but I am still able to take the necessary steps to reach my dream. Not only has Iowa proved they have so many opportunities for me with my interests, but for all 31,200 students as well.

I worried that changing my major so late would put me behind academically. For my first semester I’d be taking classes that weren’t necessary for my new plan. All I could think about was transferring schools to officially start my fashion career. I could worry all I wanted to, but I realize now that everything happened for a reason. I was meant to come to Iowa.

Sometimes you take a couple wrong turns in life and feel that the detour will set you back. But it’s not about who gets to the destination first. Everyone encounters their own detours. What you make of the journey is what matters, because at the end of the day that’s what truly shapes who you are.

Move-in and On Iowa!

When I first moved into Stanley Hall I was a bundle of emotions. Excited to embark on my new journey and independence, but terrified to be somewhere I was still learning about. I remember the night before I laid in the hotel bed wide awake. I had 100 thoughts running through my head and wanting to go back home was one of them.

I moved in on Sunday, August 18th. It was early move in so not many students were on campus yet. For two days I woke up by myself, walked to every meal by myself, and hung out with myself. I was too intimidated to meet new people no matter how desperately I longed to make friends. I would sit all alone during meals while I noticed groups of students all eating together. I imagined they were laughing hysterically at the girl who was sitting alone.

Finally, my roommate moved in on the 20th. For the first time I felt more secure. I no longer looked lonely or worried about what others thought.

That same day On Iowa! started! On Iowa! is an interactive 5 day program for first-year and transfer students. It allows new students to learn all that Iowa has to offer, make new friends, and enjoy their last week before school starts. The days are packed with numerous fun activities to do.

With the way my transition from home to college started, On Iowa! doesn’t sound like an event I’d actively participate in. Believe it or not I tried to do as many things as possible that On Iowa! offered. The whole week of On Iowa! was an incredible experience and I wish it could last forever.

My biggest highlights from On Iowa! are paddle boarding and Kick off at Kinnick Stadium.

Paddle Boarding

My experience with paddle boarding is slim to none. Before On Iowa! I had only gone paddle boarding once. It was such a stunning experience that I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do it a second time. All the participants were taken to the Iowa river where we were given equipment and a quick run through of how to paddle board. Once we were on the river I started talking to a fellow student next to me. We exchanged the basic information about ourselves (where you’re from, your major, what classes you’re in, etc.) and found out we both had Elementary Psychology! I loved this activity not just because of the beautiful weather that day or being on the water, but because of how friendly everyone was and the memories I was given from it. I was able to participate in something I love with other students who shared the same interest.

Picture taken by Tim Schoon
Picture taken by Tim Schoon
Picture taken by Tim Schoon

Kick-off at Kinnick Stadium

This event is highly recommended and most talked about by On Iowa! leaders. At Kinnick Kick-Off all the students walk to Kinnick stadium and out onto the field. Before you even enter the stadium leaders are lined up cheering and chanting while the band pulls you in even more. You learn traditional student section chants, watch cheerleaders perform, create the big block “I” with your class, and many other exhilarating activities. Just being on the field itself with thousands of students is a crazy experience.

Then suddenly, the lights go out and you’re surprised with a huge firework show!!! To end everything perfectly, Iowa organizes a Kinnick After Party. There you have food trucks to eat at for free, bouncy houses, and a balloon artist to join in on. Most importantly a DJ played music until 11pm.

“Think about how many of our fears are about how others are perceiving us”

When I first moved in, I was homesick and nervous. Every bad thought had run through my mind and I seemed to have settled for this idea that Freshman year was going to be tough. Once I started to engage on campus and step out a little I was having the time of my life. It might take some people a couple weeks or months to feel confident at school. For others it takes only a day. For me it took three. You have to remember that it’s normal and okay to not feel 100% comfortable.

As hard as it can be sometimes, remember that everyone here is in the same boat as you. Maybe they live 30 minutes from Iowa or a couple states, but either way, everyone wants to feel secure in their surroundings. It can be scary being somewhere you’ve never been and suddenly you’re forced to make friends with complete strangers, but don’t let that fear hold you back.

If you’re constantly letting your fears take charge, you’ll never know exactly what you’re capable of.