Navigating through midterms

Victoria Rice - 15 October 2021

Well, it’s that special time of year: Eyes glued to screens, flipping between slides and hoping to remember every little detail... Will the practice questions be enough? Can I get through one more lecture tonight? I have two midterms on the same day?!?!

Feeling overwhelmed by midterms is completely normal. Oftentimes, these exams are worth a significant portion of your grade, with little room for error in order to achieve the grade you want in the class. Midterms come in all shapes and sizes and there is no single right way to study. If you’re struggling to keep focus or would like some additional support, here are some perks right here in residence!

Consider a change in scenery

Sitting in your room at your desk might not be the best fit for you. Your bed is right there and you might have other distractions that seem more appealing than studying. There are plenty of places in residence to study.

Every floor in Lister has a study room (or lounge, in the case of Schäffer) where you can quietly study in a different environment. The Schäffer Study Library is also a great space. It has a 24 hour quiet policy and if you find it easier to study around people, there are often other residents sitting quietly, working away.

Many of our East Campus residence buildings, such as Pinecrest and Tamarack House, are also equipped with lounges on every floor—perhaps the perfect environment for you to focus. And Nîpisîy House has two useful types of spaces: There are individual study rooms for quiet review, as well as communal areas that are perfect for collaboration.

Sometimes I like to grab a snack between classes, so I take my laptop to the dining hall and work on practice questions while enjoying some cookies. Certain times are not very busy, so I find it easy to work without the distraction of seeing friends and floormates.

Take breaks

Sometimes stepping away from your notes can help you regain focus. Pay attention to programs your RAs are running—it might be just the distraction you need! Taking some time to spend with your floor can be a great way to decompress from the stress of deadlines.

Keep in mind that your RAs are also there to help you if you are struggling with time management, if you need someone to talk to or if you would like to get in touch with some resources to help you with mental health. This time of year often sees a dip in morale as workloads begin to pile up, so taking a break to chat with someone can boost your confidence!

Visit the Peer Tutors

The Lister Peer Tutor program is designed to help you with navigating academic challenges. The peer tutors are students, just like you, who have taken some of the courses you are currently enrolled in. Stop by the Chalifoux Multipurpose Room in the evening drop-in sessions from Monday to Friday or reach out to meet with one of our tutors for some 1-on-1 help with course material. They have access to some other academic resources on campus that you might not be aware of.

Meet with the Academic in Residence (AIR) or Faculty in Residence (FIR)

Lister residents are encouraged to reach out to Raiany, our current AIR and a PhD student in the Faculty of ALES. Raiany is a resource if you have any questions or concerns about academic goals, the transition to university, applying to a graduate program or putting together resumes, CVs or cover letters. She also oversees the Lister Peer Tutor program. You can email Raiany at to set up an appointment or stop by her office in Lister to chat!

East Campus residents are encouraged to reach out to Moin, our current FIR and a professor in the Faculty of Law. Moin can help answer any questions you have about degree planning and choosing programs, research projects and writing a thesis,and post-graduate programs such as Law and Medicine. You can email Moin at to set up an appointment or stop by his office in Nîpisîy House!

Good luck to everyone as you navigate through this period of hard work. Fall Reading Week is just around the corner!