We are halfway through the semester which means…. Midterms! No reason to get too excited though, because although my semester here has been a rollercoaster of new impressions, this means it has been extremely easy to find excuses not to read everything I was supposed to. And even though I read at least 500 pages a week, I am lagging behind in three out of the five courses I am taking at the moment. The question here: how to survive and do well on your midterms?
The biggest obstacle here is procrastination – a phenomenon I trust every student is familiar with. I have found some excellent occupations that keep me away from my books. I ride my bike through DC to explore a little of the city; my roommates and I get cupcakes for each other and watch a movie; I campaign for Obama; we visit the zoo; I join the International Affairs Society for a visit to an embassy, etcetera etcetera. What makes these things enjoyable and guilt-ridden at the same time, is the realization that I have so much else to do too. The consequence of procrastination is that it makes things less exhilarating and relaxing than they normally would be.
I do not wish to give the reader the false impression that I am not doing enough for university – it is a fact that most of the time I spent here in DC, was spent studying and reading for my courses. Nevertheless, excuses to are easy to find and adopt. One of my roommates has developed a strategy of her own. Her approach is to cram in as much as she possibly can in two days of study for one course. The result: excellent grades and a slightly insane-looking and stress-ridden roommate, who genuinely frightened me a little. Fortunately, once the exam was over, she was her normal content self again. However, this is not something that works for me, although I might give it a try some day – just spend the night in the library and only take breaks to go to the toilet now and then.
All this talk of procrastination and I haven’t even mentioned the best bit yet. I assume most people have heard of and watched the Gangnam Style song and music video. GW’s very own students made a hilarious video of our mascot (George) dancing to this song. This video provided me and my fellow students with a very welcome break more than once and I highly recommend watching it, not just for the very nice cameos of DC’s monuments and campus locations, but mostly for our unofficial mascot, the Hippo. Isn’t he just adorable? I can guarantee that it will make you laugh out loud.
This week I have two midterms coming up, so one would expect me to be studying hard all weekend. Quite the contrary: on Friday I visited the Pakistani embassy with GW’s International Affairs Society, and it was fascinating to see how very politically-charged questions were answered in a very diplomatic way. In addition, my roommates and I visited DC’s national ZOO on Saturday (one of the Smithsonian institutions). Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the giant pandas, but we did get to see the beauty of DC during fall.
The rest of this weekend is bound to be spent studying and writing essays – my bit of procrastination came with writing today’s entry. I am already looking forward to writing next week’s entry as part of my overall procrastination scheme.