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My WORST college nightmare came true :(

Posted by on Friday, September 30, 2016 in Academics, College of Arts and Science, Exams, Learning Style, Professors, Studying.

Today, I had one of the worst experiences any college student can have. I overslept the day I had an exam that’s worth 25% of my final grade.

This week has been really hard for me. I had three exams and a 10 page research paper due in the same week. On top of that, I had extracurricular commitments which also take up a lot of time. I don’t like to study late at night and I have never pulled a proper all-nighter before, but this was just one of those weeks in which I had to make compromises. First world problems, I know, but that meant I had to pull an all-nighter for my very last exam of the week, which was for my Political Science class.


The class starts at 10:10 am, and I woke up at 10:37 am. I was so tired that I had managed to ignore my loud alarm. I emailed Professor Globetti right away, with the subject line in panicky capitalized letters. She responded immediately, said that such things happen to everyone, and told me that I could take the exam later in the afternoon in Maggie’s (my TA) office. I rushed to Commons with my books, skimmed everything one last time, and then went to Maggie’s office. Maggie was so understanding, offered to answer any questions I had about taking the exam, and she let me take the exam in her spacious and quiet office, a nice change from Buttrick Hall’s closely-set chairs. The exam was straightforward, and I felt pretty good about it.

In most of my Inside ‘Dores’ posts, you’ll see my fondly talking about my Vandy college experience, how I get to meet so many new people, take interesting classes, and gain new perspectives. But no college brochure mentions working on a paper till 2 am, falling sick before a major exam, or having five major assignments due in one week. But these are also part of the college experience, no matter how on top of things you are. These things happen to students at every college, especially when you’re studying at one that’s ranked #15.

Study guides are a life-saver

Thankfully, at Vanderbilt we have an extremely strong support system in our professors, peers, and the administration who understand that no one can be perfect all the time, even if you’re armed with planners, alarm clocks, and ten cups of coffee to make sure you don’t fall behind. You do fall behind sometimes, but that’s just being human. What’s more important is how you catch up again, and I’m grateful to Professor Globetti and Maggie for being so non-judgmental and accommodating for me.

Some words of advice for future/current college students:

  • Don’t pull an all-nighter. You will regret it the next day.
  • Sleep is more important than doing last-minute exam prep.
  • Set multiple alarms when you’ve not had enough sleep the night before and need to wake up early.
  • Don’t panic if you do fall behind. Vandy professors are very understanding and helpful.
  • Having said that, don’t assume a professor will let you make up an exam/assignment. Professors have different policies. I got VERY lucky.
  • There will always be that one week in the semester in which you have an impossible number of tests and papers due all at the same time. Mark it on your planner with highlighters, and start preparing for the storm much before I did.
  • Relax, college isn’t THAT scary. It’s not a cakewalk either, but if you are committed to managing your time well (and that includes the much needed “me time”), you will succeed.

In other (rosier) news for my Political Science class, I am really enjoying this course and learning about the fundamentals of American politics, especially in this crazy election season. We’ve talked about the constitution, federalism, public opinion, and of course, all the current event news related to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We also get to watch Jimmy Kimmel clips to see abstract political terms in action, such as non-attitudes: when surveyed people say they have an opinion on a topic they don’t know much/anything about.

Professor Globetti is extremely engaging, and her lectures encourage us to open up and share our opinions in class, no matter how controversial they are. There are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Gary Johnson supporters in my class, so it’s a good mix of diverse opinions. In one of my favorite lectures, Professor Globetti conducted an online poll to see the positions our class took on several topics, such as refugees, the elections, and political correctness.

All’s well that ends well, but the moral of my story is that all-nighters don’t end well in any situation. Don’t do it!

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