For many post-secondary students, the end of a semester marks a stressful time of year. With exam season underway, campus is swarmed with UTM students of all years who are preparing for their final evaluations.
The Medium interviewed UTM students on campus regarding how they feel about the fall semester coming to an end, whether they are prepared for exam season, and what they are looking forward to over the upcoming winter break.
When asked about how they feel about their upcoming exams, many students responded that they feel stressed. Zainab Abbas, a first-year student in the art and art history program, responded, “I feel like I will not be ready [regardless of] how much I study,” echoing a common feeling among UTM students.
Sabrina Ahmadi, a third-year criminology student, shared that most of her stress stems from having multiple assignments for different classes due on the last day of class. “I’m feeling relatively optimistic since I only have one actual exam during the exam season this semester.” However, when The Medium asked other students whether they felt optimistic about their exams, most had mixed feelings.
“I try to be optimistic about all of them, but there are definitely some that I’m more optimistic about than others,” said Joelle Laezza, a second-year sociology student. Other students responded they did not feel confident and were trying their best to prepare for their upcoming assessments.
Students were also asked about how they were preparing for their upcoming exams. Many had contrasting answers to this question. Hala Shahin, a second-year biology student answered that she is studying by “reviewing lecture notes, solving more problems, and attending office hours.”
The Medium also asked students for their recommendations on how others can prepare for the exam season. William Pan, a third-year accounting student, offered advice that may benefit students who tend to procrastinate: “Never study too late—always study ahead of time, because the course loads are super heavy.”
Meanwhile, according to Laezza, “It’s important to focus on the understanding of concepts rather than memorization.” Laezza also pointed out that finals in university are very different from those in high school, something first-year students can expect to learn after this season.
Lineah Toribio, a first-year life sciences student, shared her experience of transitioning from high school to post-secondary exams. Toribio expressed that, although it is a stressful change, she makes an effort to take as many breaks as needed to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
“The first semester flew by really quickly, I [have] made new friends, and it [is] a big adjustment from high school,” Toribio added.
Abbas also commented on her experience. “My first semester of university has changed and forced me to grow a lot. I feel like I am more mature and have developed good study and work habits,” she stated. “I am grateful for all the wonderful friends I’ve made.”
For first-year students like Toribio and Abbas, time management was a common challenge they faced during their first semester at UTM.
Despite feeling stressed during exam season, many students shared that they had a lot to be proud of. For Ahmadi, one of her proudest achievements over the fall semester was sustaining a consistent study workflow while juggling a social life. As for Shahin, “being organized and properly managing time” helped her maintain a full course load this term.
Many students expressed excitement for the winter break in anticipation of seeing friends and family. For others, revisiting hobbies and interests this upcoming break is at the top of their agenda.