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The Daily Tar Heel

First-years focus on preparing for final exams


Lauren Kane (pictured left) and Sheel Patel (pictured right) at a UNC Class of 2022 event. (Photo courtesy of Sheel Patel)

As exam season quickly approaches, many UNC students find themselves under a great deal of stress. The University has many student advisers and exam preparation resources for first-years and upperclassmen alike.  

Kimberly Town Abels, the director of the Writing and Learning Centers, recommended that first-years attend some of the programs the centers host to prepare for finals. During “Write Night” on Nov. 28, the Writing Center will remain open until 11:30 p.m. Students can work on papers while staff remain on standby to answer questions. Prizes will also be given out.  

Students can also attend “Finals Bootcamp” on any or all of the five designated days during the exam period to remain on task in a supportive, secure study space with other focused individuals. Prizes will be distributed during this event, and snacks will be provided. Town Abels said students can register online for both events. 

She recommended that first years keep things in perspective as the approach their first round of exams at UNC. 

“Say, ‘This is where I am. I need to try and make the most of this at this exam. It’s gonna be OK, in the long run.’ Just say, ‘What can I do about this right now?'” said Town Abels. “Because adding the stress and anxiety of four years down the line is not going to help.” 

First-years experiencing their first round of final exams this semester may feel greater anxiety because they do not know what to expect, but first-year Sheel Patel is confident performing well on his finals. 

“I’ve been blessed for this semester because I only have three classes that give me final exams, and one of them is Lifetime Fitness, so it really doesn’t matter,” Patel said. 

Patel said he performed well on all of his midterms, so he is also reassured because he does not need perfect scores on his finals to receive his desired course grade. 

Patel believes refusing to wait until the last minute, establishing clear, regimented study schedules, working in study groups and visiting professors during office hours can help first-years succeed during exam season. 

Ellison Commodore, a first-year from Fayetteville, N.C., said balancing study time with other competing interests is challenging for first years. 

 “I guess being at UNC, I’d say probably a lot of first-years are hard on themselves,” Commodore said. “That is probably one of the reasons why we’re at UNC right now.” 

Looking back, junior Jake Browne said his first semester exams resulted in some of his best grades at UNC because he was really excited to be at college. He advised that first-years prioritize their health during exam season.

“It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of unhealthy sleep habits, study habits,” Browne said.  “I think that’s romanticized at UNC.” 

He advised that first-years avoid these behaviors, considering their own mental states and check in on their friends. He also suggested first-years devote time to forming relationships with others and developing support networks, instead of solely prioritizing academics.

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