How to prepare for midterms in four easy steps

C’s get degrees? Imagine what A’s could get you

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A person looks at their phone in the dark covering their face
PHOTO: Adrian Swancar / Unsplash

By: Marco Ovies, Features Editor

Editor’s note: this piece was inspired by content creator JASH’s “How To Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps!”  on YouTube.

  1. Get plenty of sleep

A tired brain is an unhappy brain. Make sure you are getting at least eight hours of sleep not only before your exam but also for the days before. That means no more all nighters, sorry. 

2. Get outside and exercise

Whether it’s a hardcore session at the gym or a walk, anything to get your body moving is a good idea. Don’t forget to stretch!

3. . . . get your heart broken

And I don’t just mean broken. Get it absolutely shattered into pieces so small, they’re impossible to pick up. Broken by the most important person in your life. The one you thought would never leave you. Try to study at the library, despite not having the emotional energy to do anything other than sit on your couch at 3:00 a.m. and eat a bucket of KFC while crying (remember tip one!). You may not be able to study for long, but study until your brain hurts and you can forget about the terrible heartbreak that hurts almost as much as the ending of Marley and Me. Then go home, wake up, and do it all over again the next day. And then again. And then again.

Go to lecture and hear stories from your friends about your ex and all the dates she has been going on. Apparently they’ve been taking dates to your favourite arcade, the one where you ate too much pizza that one time and threw up behind the skeeball machine. Your friends think they are doing you a favour by telling you this, but are really just reminding you of the excruciating pain you have to deal with each and every single day. 

Pretend like it doesn’t bother you when you see your ex in lecture. Pretend seeing them every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 a.m. doesn’t feel like that one scene in the Pokémon movie where Ash gets turned to stone and Pikachu starts to cry. How can you feel like both Ash and Pikachu at the same time? Pretend everything is fine. . . because it is, right?

Go back to the library and study for as long as you can until your brain hurts again. Look over your notes from class. Treat yourself to a coffee for an extra boost of energy. Realize that it just gave you diarrhea because the barista gave you whole milk instead of oat milk and spend the night on the toilet. Try to forget your ex in between wipes. 

After you finish studying one night, take a walk through the park instead of driving home. Feel the fresh crisp air fill your lungs as you watch the people walking past. People who are rushing off to places. Watch people absorbed in their phones, too busy sending an email to their boss during non-working hours. People who are too busy doing meaningless work instead of spending time with the people they love. How do they feel? Do they have a partner? A family who loves them? Or are they alone like you? Realize you are alone and sit with that feeling in the pit of your stomach, weighing you down like a stone. 

Go back to sleep. Go to class. Go to the library. Go out for drinks. Drunk text your ex about how terribly they treated you. Mention that one time they said your Minecraft skills were “below average.” The next day, apologize. Not in person though, over text like a real adult. Yeah that’s right, look at you being mature. Watch them open your text message in lecture and leave you on read. Realize this hurts more than the ending of Marley and Me.

Start to make friends at the library. There isn’t much communication that happens at the library because . . . well, it’s a library (shhhh). But make eye contact and smile at the people who you have started to see regularly. Eddy, who takes his Dungeon and Dragons podcasts too seriously and Jerome who you’ve never actually seen awake while you study. Non-verbal communication like a head nod becomes a lot more meaningful the more time you spend here. But let’s be honest, are these really the people you want to be spending all your time with? Start to get into Dungeons and Dragons podcasts because Eddy convinced you they are actually good.

Gradually, the studying starts to pay off. C’s turn into B’s and your TAs start to value your opinion in tutorial instead of telling you to “get out of this class because you’re in the wrong tutorial.” It’s not your fault that you still can’t find your way around campus and end up in the exact same wrong classroom each week. You notice more people start to sit with you in class and at the library because you are actually beneficial to their academic success. 

Your ex posts online they are seeing someone else. 

That night, you go to the library and study until the librarian tells you to leave. You go home, put on some Bon Iver, and cry in the bathroom while swiping left on everyone you see on Tinder. Are you picky? Or does no one look like your ex . . .

There’s a person you see a lot at the library. They read on an iPad, which you think is weird because the sole purpose of the place you’re in is to lend out books. You try not to look at them too much at the risk of looking creepy, like the old man who watches porn on the public computers. But you start to notice this person is always at the library when you are, and always seems to choose the table right next to yours. You catch their eye and they smile at you. You quickly look away because this is the most romantic interaction you’ve had in the last year and you feel like you’re about to throw up.

Your ex’s new partner walks them to class one day. You notice they are better dressed, better looking, and they even seem smarter and more popular than you. 

Sleep. Lecture. Study. You do the same thing over and over again and it looks like nothing will change. 

Except something does change. 

You stay late one night at the library and you notice the person who keeps sitting close to you is the only other person left. You start to pack up at the same time and you walk out together, engaging in small talk along the way.

You learn their name is Skylar, but only their mother calls them Skylar so you can call them Sky. They have a cat named Willard and they work at the coffee shop close by. They tell you they usually get off work at around 6:00 p.m. and you should grab dinner sometime. You say yes. You think they’re so amazing they must have named the SkyTrain after them.

That night, you decided not to drive to the library but walk. You and Sky end up walking home in the same direction. You remember the last time you walked from the library, seeing all of the same people mentioned 12 paragraphs ago. 

You get that same feeling of sadness again, and you mention it to Sky. But Sky tells you it’s not sad, but happy. Spouses, children, parents: they are rushing to see the people who make life worth living. 

You kiss under the streetlamp in front of their house. They definitely named the SkyTrain after them.

It’s been a couple of years and you have just graduated. You’ve discovered happiness and a love for life that overshadows any academic accomplishment and you haven’t thrown up behind a skeeball machine in years. You can say for a fact you are happy. You close your email, say goodbye to Sky with a kiss on the cheek as you leave the apartment you now rent together, and end up at the library. You stand in front of the arched entrance and reminisce on all the time you spent here. Maybe it wasn’t the worst time of your life after all. 

4. Drink water

Staying hydrated is important for a healthy brain and body!