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What I Learned by Almost Sleeping Through a Midterm

Posted by on Sunday, February 17, 2019 in Academics, College Life, College of Arts and Science, College of Arts and Science, Exams, Exams, Freshman Life, Health, Pre-Med.

I’m forever thankful to Lime scooters for getting me to class in less than five minutes.

I woke up at 9:39 AM to the sound of pounding on my door. Class had started at 9:35 and it was the day of our first Country Music midterm. The next six minutes were a blur. In that time, I managed to put on a hoodie, grab my backpack, rush down a few flights of stairs, find a Lime scooter, and ride it to the Sarratt Student Center. I got to the lecture hall at 9:45. Fortunately, as I slipped in, our professor was still describing the format of the exam. Secondly, since the class is held in a theatre, my entering was mostly unnoticed.

The sole reason I made it into the class on time, and didn’t sleep through a 100-point exam, was a phone call. A classmate of mine who lived on my hall managed to call and ask my neighbor to wake me up (I thanked both of them profusely afterward). I had set an alarm the previous night for 8:30 but because my phone lost charge throughout the night, and because I was somewhat sleep-deprived, my eyes remained closed for an hour past scheduled.

Though I’d failed to wake up on time, I did remember to study for the exam, which went well. However, in those first two hours of the day of my exam, I learned far more than I did while cramming for the exam itself. These are the lessons I’d like to share with you:

  1. Remember to charge your phone, especially when your phone is also your alarm clock. This simple mistake almost cost me my grade in a class, and I’m not likely to repeat it. Waking up on time is incredibly important in college, where you can’t just “skip” school if you forget about an exam or are unprepared to take it. Responsibility is an important virtue, and being responsible to you and your well-being is its most important aspect.
  2. Try to avoid sleep deprivation. Though late nights may sometimes be necessary, study in advance and work towards a good, constant amount of sleep every night. A consistent sleep schedule is something that neither my roommate nor I valued in high school, but going into our second semester of college, maintaining one has become incredibly important for both of us. The night before the Country Music exam was one of those necessary exceptions, partly because it was our first exam and partly because I’d never taken a music history class before.
  3. Turn classmates into friends and make connections. Like I stated previously, I only ended up taking the exam because a friend of mine managed to wake me up. Human error caused the mistake in the first place, but human collaboration fixed it before it became unfixable. In that situation, the connections I’d arbitrarily made in the past suddenly became incredibly valuable to my personal well-being. You’ll never know when you’ll need someone else’s help, and you’ll never know when someone else will need yours, so get to know a few people in all of your classes, large or small.
  4. Finally, don’t forget that everyone has bad days, but it’s crucial to learn from them. They come in different shapes and forms and affect people in different ways, but with a strong support system, they can and will be alleviated. College nurtures academic as well as social growth, both of which are equally vital to attaining the proper “balance” that everyone strives for at Vanderbilt. Recognizing your bad days and their causes can help you ultimately prevent them in the future.

If you have any other tips to success, questions, or just want to say hi, don’t hesitate to contact me at!

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