My first year of college has been anything but normal. COVID-19 and Zoom classes haven’t made for the college experience I dreamed of when I was in high school.
However, I don’t think the college experience in a pandemic has been all bad. Prep week was one of the few good things borne out of Northwest operating during COVID-19. That practice should stay long past the end of the pandemic.
I’ve found that having online classes isn’t as bad as I originally thought. Not having to go to a physical classroom has given me more time to do work throughout the day. With online classes, I can listen to lectures on my own time and make my own schedule.
I’ve also really liked moving out early at the end of the semester — I’m a freshman living in the dorms — and having a prep week before finals. I’ve never been a big fan of ending school and then having finals immediately after with barely any time to prepare for the tests. The prep week has given me time to organize my studying and not cram-study in three days.
I was disappointed when I saw on the school schedule for next semester that the finals prep week wouldn’t continue.
In March, Northwest announced that we would see more of a “return to normal” in the fall due to a higher vaccination rate and a low number of cases on campus.
The fall semester is looking more like how it would pre-pandemic, with a regular Thanksgiving break where we go home and then come back for classes before winter break. We also have a scheduled spring break in Spring 2022, which I feel like a lot of people will be very happy with.
As relieved as I am that things might start looking normal soon, I really hope that the University won’t rush into it in the fall. Freshmen haven’t gotten a normal college year. It’ll take some time to adjust to how college is usually run.
Students should have more time to prepare for our final exams, and we should at least get more than one weekend to prepare. It’s not easy having to study an entire semester’s worth of information for multiple classes in such a short amount of time.
I always feel stressed out before tests, and frantically trying to remember all the material doesn’t help. With the prep week, I didn’t feel rushed to memorize everything, and for once, I didn’t feel super anxious before a test.
For example, in my math class, we have gone over a little more than 10 chapters. That’s a lot of information I have to understand and remember. Thankfully, I’ll have a week to prepare for that test.
One thing that the American Psychological Association says about studying is to not cram, or study material in a very short amount of time. When we cram, we don’t remember the information as well. Spreading out studying overtime will improve long-term memory and help us remember the information better.
I’ll admit, I’m not the best at following this advice, and I usually end up cramming for tests the day before. I have tried spreading out studying, though, and I can say that it did help when it came to remembering the material better.
College is supposed to challenge students and get us to give our all. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of mental health and grades.
If the University was able to implement a prep week before finals during the pandemic, they should continue to do so after.