It’s officially midterm season here at Temple Rome and the stress of exams, papers, and presentations is starting to get to everyone. Whether you’re someone who prepares by making study guide after study guide or you prefer to cope through binge-watching Netflix, here are a few tips on how to survive midterms abroad. (Cue Ned’s Declassified theme song)
1. Find Your Spot – I’ve always found having a space that is open, comfortable, and my own helps my productivity. In Philly, I’d usually go to a cafe in Old City or even Saxby’s on campus, but in Rome most of the cafes I had been in weren’t the kind of place where people would hang around for hours. I found myself getting distracted much too easily in my apartment and didn’t want to spend all of my time at Temple’s campus. Luckily, just in time for midterms, my roommate found a cafe about a 20-minute walk from our apartment which has the perfect studying atmosphere. It’s attached to the MAXXI Art Museum, so I get to walk through some outdoor art installations on my way there. It also has snacks, an oddly spot-on playlist (Grease, the Beatles, and Rick Astley), and a laid-back vibe which lends itself well to long study sessions. Plus they have great (and cheap) coffee!
2. Keep a Calendar and Plan Accordingly – Studying abroad has two very defined parts, “studying” and being “abroad.” It can be all too easy to get caught up in one side of this and forget about the other, but keeping a calendar with reminders is a nice way to stay on track. It may seem simple, but writing down all of your due dates and already-scheduled trips ahead of time will be incredibly helpful in the long run. That way, you know which weekends are best for staying in Rome and keeping things low-key and which weekends are best for visiting a new city or country! Number one piece of advice, buy a calendar BEFORE going abroad so you don’t have to worry about tracking one down in a new country.
3. Breathe – Midterms are stressful anywhere, but they can be especially stressful when you may still be adjusting to living in a new place incredibly far away from things you usually find comfort in. Usually, during stressful school times in Philly, I take a break by going to my all-time favorite food spot, The Tasty (it’s an all vegan diner in South Philly, if you haven’t been, please go! For me!), or visiting my brother. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or money to hop on a plane to do either of those things, so I’ve been finding ways to destress here. A big thing for me has been making tea every night with my roommates. It seems simple, but having a few moments each evening to just focus on talking to friends and sipping (and sometimes spilling) some tea allows me to go to bed a little less stressed.
4. Eat Gelato (and other food) – This may seem like an obvious one but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself despite possible stress from studying. Whenever I start to feel discouraged about studying or get into a slump, I like to take a short walk and grab some gelato to get my energy level back up. In all the stress of midterms, don’t forget to eat, drink water, and get some sleep when you need it.
Hopefully, with these suggestions, midterms abroad won’t seem all that daunting. Just find a spot to focus, plan accordingly, and give yourself time to breathe! Remember, if you’ve survived midterms before back home, you can survive them abroad too.