By Randi Williams

Hello Liberal Arts students and congratulations on making it to finals week! I know it probably seems like the real work is just now starting, but don’t forget to give yourselves some credit for making it this far, you’ve worked hard and you’re so close to finishing fall term and embracing the freedom of winter break! That being said, finals week can definitely be a stressful time and it’s important to take it seriously. I remember my first term freshman year having a minor panic attack the weekend before finals. For me, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this, tests were no big deal in high school and I rarely even studied for them. Soon into my first term at OSU though I realized that was not how things were going to work in college. Because I was still thinking in high school terms I failed my Math 105 midterm and realized that whether or not I passed the class was going to be determined by the grade I earned on the final, now that’s a lot of pressure.  I was able to pull through though with a few tricks…

Don’t Cram Study- I know we’ve all done this before, start studying the night before a test, trying to stuff 10 weeks worth of information into our brains in only a few hours. It’s so tempting too, with other fun things happening in the dorms; maybe your roommate is done with their finals and wants to go see a movie, and you’ll just put off studying for a few hours. But I promise, you will regret this later. In order for our brains to actually retain information they need sleep and time to process what we’ve learned, and that can’t happen in two hours. So here’s my tip, make a schedule and stick to it. Study a little bit everyday this week, even if your test isn’t until Friday. This will pay off when you get your grades.

Sleep- Stemming off the no cram studying tip, I also want to emphasize the importance of sleep. It may be tempting to stay up all night to be sure you’re ready for that big test, but I firmly believe that the best thing you can do to help your performance during finals is to be well rested and calm for you test. This will allow you think clearly and ensure that you actually put to use all the information you know.

Communication- I know that by this point you’ve all received this advice probably more times than you can count, but if you are having trouble PLEASE talk to your professor. They may not always come across that way but professors really are there to help you succeed, and in my experience enjoy talking to and working with students. If you are at all confused or concerned about a class, reach out. And if one-on-one office hours are a little intimidating or you just have a quick question, shoot them an email. I, for instance, have been emailing back and forth with my history professor all weekend, and my final paper is definitely better for it.

Take a Break- Studying and being prepared are extremely important, but so is giving your brain a chance to rest. We can’t stay focused 24/7, so instead of checking Facebook every few minutes try scheduling specific and realistic blocks of time to study and blocks of time to relax. And then, if at all possible, do something active with your break time. Chances are you just spent the last two hours staring at a screen typing a paper, so instead of watching a movie go for a walk, get some exercise, or chat with a friend. Your brain will thank you for the break and you’ll come back reenergized and ready to hit the books.

Finals week probably seems intimidating right now, but try to keep focused and remember why you’re hear. Finishing a term of college is no small accomplishment; so keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel and after your last final make sure you give yourself a pat on the back before you fully immerse yourself in the freedom of break!


By Monica Racicot

Have you ever thought about why college campuses refer to the week before finals as ‘dead week’? I find the term ‘dead week’ to be really silly because the week before finals at Oregon State is anything but ‘dead’. Here is the academic regulation that talks specifically about ‘dead week’. “No final, midterm, or comprehensive examinations shall be given during the week preceding final examination week”….interesting. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a comprehensive test Monday morning. I like to think of the week before finals as dead week because once it’s over; my mind will be dead… right in time for finals.

Why ‘dead’ week?

Dead week may be the last week you must attend classes but it is always jam packed with projects, papers, quizzes and other “last minute” assignments that professors so carefully scheduled together to all be due on the same day.

In many universities, a common tradition for dead week is called “The Primal Scream,” where students open their windows and scream at the top of their lungs at the same time, which is usually late at night. Why scream? To release all the frustration of not getting enough sleep because we have to study all night long. Oregon State needs to hop on this train because screaming at the top of my lungs sounds like a fun way to vent!

Survival tips:


“I try to study in the library or lounge during dead week rather than my dorm room. It helps me get serious and get to work when I’m not lying across my bed talking to my roommate.”
Isolate yourself from the outside world in at least one way. Go study in the library or a lounge. Leave your cell phone in your bag. Turn off your internet. Put headphones in to drown out surrounding noise or listen to some calming music.

“I always have a cup of coffee or tea when I study, not for the caffeine jolt, but for the comfort of having something warm to drink.”
Indulge in one thing that keeps you sane during study sessions. Sipping some coffee, nibbling on some crackers or doodling in your notebook in between flash cards will give you a release from studying, if even for thirty seconds.

“I make a “to do” list, (which always appears threatening at first) and organize the items on it by their due date or exam date. Then I buckle down, reread notes, skim chapter summaries, and try to find friends to study with.”
Prioritizing with a checklist will help eliminate test anxiety since you will be able to properly schedule when you will study for each exam. If you get bored studying for your next exam or you are tired of the material, take a break from it and move on to the next item on your checklist. Knocking out each item and crossing them off the list is almost as good a feeling as turning in a final exam.

“I make sure to take breaks, and I usually treat myself to something, like a trip to the mall or a yummy dessert.”
Unwind after cramming for that upcoming final by pampering yourself. As college students, we rarely have the time or money to really do what we want, but give yourself a pat on the back with some kind of reward. Walk to your favorite spot on campus to relax, get some ice cream at the Creamery, buy yourself something new (even if it’s nothing big!) or even head to the gym to release some of that tension. Whatever it is, make sure you find some way to relax as the week goes on and finals begin!

What OSU offers for students:

  • Stress Free Zone—Thursday December 1st in the Dixon Recreation Center Lobby and Student Lounge. Take a break
    from studying to gain healthy, relaxing habits for success on finals. They will be offering massages, food, raffles, and de-stressing activities. The Stress Free Zone goes from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.
  • President’s Winter CoffeeThursday December 1st from 9:30 am to 11 am in the Memorial Union Lounge. Join President and Mrs. Ray in celebration and conversation with holiday treats and gourmet coffee. They are suggesting participants bring a non-perishable food item to benefit the OSU Food Pantry.
  • UHDS Moonlight Breakfast Sunday December 4th from 9 pm to 11 pm in each dining hall on campus. The breakfast is free to hall residents but you need to pick up a ticket from your RA’s in order to get the breakfast for free! For everyone else, the meal costs $6. The menu includes: Baked French Toast Sticks, Scrambled Eggs and Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Potato Triangle Hash Browns, Turkey Sausage Patty, Yogurt Bar, Granola, Orange Wedges, Coffee/Juice/Milk. Yum!





    By Alison Blazer

    Hello fellow Liberal Arts students! I’m sure you’re all just as excited as I am to go home for the upcoming holiday season. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, students begin wrapping up those last few classes and essays before they can head home for the most anticipated meal of the year. It is not uncommon for students to feel overwhelmed during this upcoming week. For many freshman, Thanksgiving will be their first time leaving the Beaver Nation since CONNECT Week. I myself am an out of state student from California. My Freshman year I resided in Callahan Hall and couldn’t wait to get home to see my family, but when I realized that not only did I have to finish up all my class work, but also print a boarding pass, work my schedule around my shuttle reservation and “close up” my dorm room, I was immediately overwhelmed. Suddenly Thanksgiving was starting to feel like it wasn’t a vacation at all! I’m not telling you this to create anxiety about the holidays, but rather to tell you that it gets better with time. As a sophomore, I’ve been faced with this all before and am here to pass my knowledge on to you, so here are some tips on surviving the Thanksgiving mass exodus from Corvallis.

    1. Don’t bring schoolwork home with you. I know how busy classes can get at the Beaver Nation, but trust me when I say lugging huge textbooks home and intending to catch up on some reading, is an unreasonable goal. Get as much work as you can done this week before you head home, and then take these three upcoming days to spend time with your family and friends and clear your head, everyone needs a break every once and a while! Relaxation is good for the soul, and it’s a well-known fact that Thanksgiving comes at just the right time in terms of classes and busy schedules at OSU. Catch up on some R & R and come back to campus refreshed!
    2. Properly “closing up” your room is easier than it seems. If you’re living in the Residence Halls on campus, your RA should provide you with a sign out sheet. All of the items on this list need to be completed before you head home. When I was a freshman, I couldn’t believe that there was a checklist of how to leave each room, and was not pleased that yet another piece of paper was piled onto my To Do list.  Don’t worry- it’s simpler than you think. The checklist consists of things like close your window, shut your blinds, turn off all electronics and unplug them (refrigerators have to be unplugged and cleaned out for winter break, but they allow them to be kept on for the short Thanksgiving break). Make sure you set up a time for your RA to check off your room prior to when you plan to leave, meaning don’t run around the residence hall searching for your RA minutes before you’re supposed to be on a shuttle out of town. Plan ahead! For those of you who live off campus, it’s sometimes a bit trickier because there is no checklist handed to you. The main thing to keep in mind is saving energy, and saving money. Don’t leave appliances plugged in over break. They’re using up energy even when they’re not in use! Make sure all of your lights are off, heat is off and that you lock your doors properly on your way out.
    3. Travel safely! I may just be reiterating what so many of your parents have already told you, but please, travel safely home and back to campus over this holiday weekend. Being an out of state student myself, my travel plans for Thanksgiving include riding the Hut Shuttle (a reliable and relatively inexpensive way to get from the OSU Bookstore on campus to Portland International Airport for those of you who are unfamiliar), flying home to California, and then doing it all in reverse just a few days later. For those of you flying home, get to the airport or anywhere you need to be early! The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest air traffic day of the year, so plan ahead! I may be sounding a bit repetitive, but planning ahead for your own ventures is important. Even for those driving home for the holiday. If you’re driving, budget gas money, don’t leave when it’s already dark outside if you can avoid it, and carpool as often as possible. Having someone else in the car with you always makes the trip easier.
    4. Boost up that vitamin intake! Now it may seem silly for me to be promoting so much rest and relaxation, while also encouraging everyone to drink a lot of fluids and take an added dose of Vitamin C, but there is a method to my madness. Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is not a long break from school. Having only two days of classes off makes for a four day break for the majority of us, meaning that our bodies are going to be stressed and exhausted from the process of travelling. As I’m sure many of you have noticed over the years, traveling is exhausting. Carrying your bags through and airport, driving for long periods of time, and then doing it all again just three days later can really take it out of you! So while it is indeed important for you to spend time with your family and rest as much as you can over break, I’m aware that for some people, spending time with family is anything but relaxing. To combat travel exhaustion, I suggest lots of water over the holiday season, and for those traveling on airplanes, I’d suggest some Vitamin C, a necessity that all college students should have handy.

    I hope my tips aid each of you in your first college holiday, and that you all have a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving Break!


    By Monica Racicot

    Hi students! Can you believe that we are just two weeks away from stuffing our faces with delicious turkey and mashed potatoes?! I for one am beyond excited. Before I get sidetracked thinking about how anxious I am to get a couple days off of school for Thanksgiving, let me tell you a little about myself.

    My name is Monica and I’m a senior, finishing up my B.A in Speech Communication. I was born and raised in San Diego, California and attended Palomar College for three years before becoming an official Beaver Believer. I know what you’re thinking….why in the world would I voluntarily choose to leave behind the beautiful Southern California sun? Good question.

    The truth is that I finished community college right when California colleges and universities were having major budget issues. To make a long story short, I was denied from the school I was certain I’d get in to. I was a psychology major at the time, and the school had very little space available for psychology transfer students. By the time I received the rejection letter, the California State and university applications were closed. I was then forced to reevaluate my plans for college, and consider applying to an out of state school. At first, I was horrified at the thought of being so far from my family and friends. My plan had always been to stay close to home. But the only constant in life is change and I knew I had to adapt.

    The decision then became Oregon or Arizona… and since I don’t enjoy extreme heat, Oregon it was! Interestingly enough, I didn’t even consider the University of Oregon. I applied to Oregon State, Portland State and Southern Oregon University and was accepted in to all three. Viking…Hawk… or Beaver? It was a no brainer.

    So here I am…orange and lovin’ it!

    I’d like to let you all in on some out-of-state transfer tips and tricks that I’ve picked up during my time here at Oregon State.

    • Transferring here from another state is expensive. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Stay on top of any financial aid or scholarship deadlines. If you plan on or have already taken out a student loan, make sure it’s suited to fit your financial situation and future plans. According to an article in the Daily Barometer this morning, the average debt of graduating undergraduates is $22,000. Be prepared.
    • Get to know your advisor and triple check your transfer credit. Most transfer students have a graduation date in mind and are looking to stick to a plan in order to graduate on time. Your advisor will be the most help in getting you there! Be sure to take a look at your Advance Standing Report and make sure everything is correct. I had to get an advisor to change a mistake on my MyDegrees profile because one of my math classes in community college wasn’t counted when it should have been. You have to be your own advocate!
    • Traveling home for breaks and holidays is a royal pain. Start looking at flights home for Thanksgiving and Christmas right when you get to OSU in September. It might sound crazy but air travel these days isn’t getting any cheaper. Depending on where you live, you may also want to consider Amtrak or Greyhound—they also offer student discounts! Try carpooling with friends to the airport to avoid paying $80 for the Hut Shuttle. It’s important to remember that it’s okay not to go home for Thanksgiving. It tends to be pretty costly for just three or four days at home. I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving since I’ve started college at OSU. Try making plans with friends who are local or also not going home. Shari’s here in Corvallis offers a turkey dinner that you can purchase for you and your friends! Oh, and if you have to fly to get home be sure to sign up for the airlines’ rewards program-it’s free and you can rack up points pretty fast if you go home every break.

    Even though Oregon State was never in my “plan”, I wouldn’t change going to school here for anything. And I hope all of you are enjoying your time here as much as I am!

    Wishing you a happy and healthy last few weeks in Fall term! Good luck on finals J


    Welcome to week 7! I’m Benjamin Wreath, a junior studying Speech Communication. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but dead week is coming way too fast for me. I am really starting to wonder how I am going to make it through finals week with my GPA intact.

    I know first-hand that it can be very difficult to get the grade you want in all of the 4, 5 or 6 classes you are taking. I have signed up for a baccalaureate core classes that sounded interesting at first, but turned out to be more challenging than the rest of my classes put together. My sophomore year I was doing poorly in one of my classes, and I really didn’t want to ruin my GPA so I considered dropping that class. I was at 14 credits, and this class was worth 3… It wasn’t possible. In order to keep my financial aid I had to be a full time student (12 credits or more). I had no idea what to do, so I made an appointment with my advisor to find out what my options were.

    My advisor told me how I can take a class, stay full time, earn credit for it, but not have the poor grade affect my GPA.  Did you know that you can earn as low as a C- in a class and not have it bring down your GPA?  Sweet deal huh? Little did I know you can do what students call “S/Uing” a class. This is where you can take a class and either receive an “S” or a “U” as a grade. It’s very similar to taking a class as pass or fail. Where you either, well… pass it for fail it. S/U stands for Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory. If you are able to pull off that C- in a class, or better, you get a Satisfactory grade. That means that you will get the credits from the class and it satisfies the area of your core without counting towards your overall GPA. On the reverse side, if you earn a “U” you won’t get any credit for the class, but it still keeps your GPA looking pretty.

    The process to S/U a class is fairly simple to do. All you need to do is go by the CLA advising office in 213 Gilkey Hall, have a pen in hand, and a “Change of grading basis” form from the Office of Registrar page found on our OSU webpage or from the CLA advising office. You need to get the form signed by your advisor and returned to the registrar.  All request forms must be submitted by the end of this week (week 7) so if you’re thinking about it you better hurry! Forms have to be received in the registrar’s office by Friday, November 11th at 5pm.

    I have only changed one class to S/U so far, and this term I’m about to bump my total up to two. Sometimes it’s hard to get the grade you want, even if you are giving the class your all. This grading system can give you the break that you need so that you can get the grade you want in your major specific classes. Remember though, once you change your class to S/U, it’s permanent, you can’t change it back even if you get an A in that class. I another friend that S/U’d a lab science her senior year.  She earned a D+ in the class, which would have satisfied the requirement for one of the lab sciences in the bacc core she needed to graduate, but because she changed the class to S/U, she did not get credit and had to take another lab science. S/Uing a class is a great option, but make sure to think it through and talk it over with your advisor.  It was a life saver for me!


    By Joce DeWitt

    One of the most commonly asked questions from prospective OSU students is how one student, just one in a now 25,000-strong student population, can possibly get involved and make a difference on campus. Allow me to divulge my knowledge.

    First, on behalf of all the ambassadors and advisors of the College of Liberal Arts, I would like to take this opportunity to strongly urge, nay, beg you to get involved during your years here at Oregon State University.  I’ll even go one step further in saying that you should do so immediately upon your arrival on campus. The benefits will not only be obvious once you immerse yourself, but later on down the winding road of life when you are applying for jobs and mapping out your career.

    Speaking from experience, I think it is safe to say that there are more ways to get involved as a new student on campus than anyone can count. Therefore, the benefits that result are also immeasurable. My point is that “student involvement,” though a term that has become rather cliché over the years (think of your high school’s student body president campaigning for election because of how “involved” she was…) is not a concept that should be compartmentalized or marginalized on a campus as vast as that of OSU. I speak the truth when I guarantee that there is literally an outlet for every student here, whether it be recreational (anime club, sports club, Intermural sports leagues, etc.), academic (comm club, engineers without borders, Spanish club, etc.), paid campus positions (student media, academic departmental positions, MUPC event staff, etc.), and whatever else anyone can think of.

    I suppose one of the best ways to provide evidence to my claims that there is an overabundance in involvement outlets on campus is by sharing my personal story.

    As a freshman, brand new and wide-eyed to campus in the New Media Communications program, I enrolled in NMC 101 and was encouraged the first day to become a part of student media. From that very class, I marched myself to Snell Hall, home of all student media, and told them I wanted to write for the paper. With no questions on my lack of journalism experience or even what year I was, they told me they’d train me and get me published. Bam. Just like that.

    Ever since that first experience, I have been involved with student media in one way or another. I worked myself up from freshman newbie columnist to News Editor, or the girl who gets to decide what our campus sees on the front page of the paper every single morning. I assign the stories, I hire and train the reporters, and I am the go-to person for story ideas and coverage. I also worked for KBVR TV on the Beaver Sports Show for a year. But even apart from experiences in student media, I held a campus job in one of the dining centers for two years and played on multiple IM sports teams.

    Needless to say, I have already begun reaping the benefits of my hyper involvement, and I haven’t even graduated yet. Because of my work at the Barometer and KBVR, I scored a summer internship with The Keizer Times, where I learned the news-writing foundations I now put to daily use.

    Getting involved as a student will guarantee one of the following: you meet a ton of amazing people and establish networks you never even knew existed, you have a ton of fun doing the things you love while making a difference as a contributing member of the community, you build your resume to impress the pants off of future employers, or you learn a lot about yourself (characteristic short-comings and marvels alike) in the process. Take your pick. I promise you will not make the wrong choice.


    By Kerry Thomas

    I can’t believe that it’s already week five of fall term.  It seems like just yesterday I was getting sunburned at the College of Liberal Arts CONNECT week scavenger hunt.  But it’s true, fall is underway and I’m seeing several tell-tale signs that indicate the middle of the term is here:

    1. It seems like everyone has the “bug” that’s going around, and they keep coming to class anyway; the large lecture hall in Milam turns into a symphony of coughing, sneezing and blowing noses.
    2. “More Coffee!” is the cry of the masses struggling to pull through their first round of midterms.
    3. The hours of daylight are shrinking as we prepare for the marathon of grey rainy days that is the blur of winter in Oregon.
    4. And the buzz around campus is related to what everyone is dressing up as, yep, that’s right, for HALLOWEEN!

    It’s here folks; the first holiday of the year that reminds us all that it’s time to go in and talk with your academic advisor.  To schedule an appointment either call 541-737-0561 or come by Gilkey 213.

    But before meeting with your advisor, take some time to think back over the past weeks of this term and ask yourself some questions.  First, how is it going? Overall, are you happy at OSU and doing well in your classes?  If not, try to identify what isn’t working for you.  Maybe you don’t like the majority if your courses or you’re considering changing your major.  If that’s the case, it’s time to talk to your advisor about finding different content areas that you are interested in.  As advisors, we can help you make connections based on your interests and career goals that you might not know are possible.

    What about involvement on campus? Are you already involved in five campus activities and two intramural sports and can’t find the time to fit in studying?  Or perhaps you are overwhelmed with how much free time you have now that you’re in college and you have no idea where to start. If that’s the case, your academic advisor is a great resource for helping you evaluate your priorities so that you can learn to create a healthy and happy balance in your life.

    Whether you are struggling to find your footing here this first term, or you feel like you have this “school thing” all figured out.  Come in and talk with your advisor in order to make plans for the future, make connections with campus resources and develop a personalized plan for your educational journey.

    When I first came to OSU, I quickly found out that I hated my major.  I also knew that I wanted to be involved, but not as involved as I was in high school (we’re talking like 12 co-curricular activities).  I was overwhelmed with the idea of picking a new major and I had no idea where to start when getting involved.  There were so many choices that the sheer number made me not want to choose because I was scared of making the wrong choice.  Luckily, it was my academic advisor who helped me recognize that one of my favorite BACC Core courses (ECON 202, I know, right?) was my true academic passion, and the major I graduated with!!  He also helped me talk through my life goals and interests and pointed me in the direction of some key activities that were the foundation of my choosing a career in academic advising.


    By Amber Gomes

    I have never posted in a blog before… I’ve read some (including the other CLA ones) and it seems like they are all really witty or just outright clever in some way. So when we talked about writing blogs as Ambassadors my first thought was “Crap! How am I going to be that funny?” and my second thought was “What in the heck do I write about?” Eventually I decided… “Who cares about being funny? It’s more important to be honest right?” So then I moved onto the real problem… what in the world do I want to say to you guys?

    My first thought was the importance of getting involved; be it a sport, intramurals, a club, student government, a fraternity, sorority, honor society or what have you. You make lifelong friends when you decide to do something social with your free time. Obviously studying is important, I mean we are in college that’s kind of a key element of the whole scenario, but balance really is essential to mental well-being and you should enjoy your time here too! But everyone you meet is going to encourage you to get involved so I figured a blog on it would only be redundant. So I decided that I want to share something that may be just a little bit cheesy but is seriously really important.

    Listen to yourself!

    Cheesy? Yes! Cliché? Quite possibly. But REALLY!!!! DO IT!!!!!

    Statistics say that college students change their majors four times on average; I actually never did (though I did change one of my minors) but I do know others who have. For example my friend, let’s call him Reginald (because Bob is overused), spent the first three years of his college career as a civil engineer. We were talking the other day and he was telling me he just switched his major. Apparently Reginald had always thought the classes he was taking were kind of lame… but he kept telling himself “They are going to get more interesting! They are going to get more fun!” and turns out they never did. So after three years, and who knows how much money, he finally decided to make that major switch. Reginald is now officially a Mathematics major. Personally I don’t see how that could be any more fun than Civil Engineering BUT the point is that it is not my opinion that matters. It’s not your teacher’s opinion, your advisor’s opinion, your friend’s opinion or even your parents’ opinions! It is your opinion!

    Don’t set yourself up to hate school by taking classes or sticking with a major you don’t like! You have that whole big broad range of classes to choose from as you fill your bacc core… choose ones in different fields! I’m an International Degree Political Science major with minors in Spanish and Psychology (yes I love my Liberal Arts) but I know because I took the most random bacc core classes that I also LOVE history and medical anthropology and I know from other random bacc cores that cultural anthropology is not necessarily my thing. I know I hate math but that public health classes and biology can be super interesting. Oddly enough it’s even kind of fun to know about different kinds of rocks as a result of my geology 101 class (at least my little brother thinks its cool). I won’t say that I enjoyed or even cruised through all of my classes but I can honestly say I have learned a lot about myself as a result of trying new things. And my best piece of advice to you, the youngest of the beaver nation is to be active in your education! After all, it kind of does help to determine your future!


    By Alexandra “Alex” Schireman

    If you told me I had to choose between taking a midterm exam or a final, I would probably reach for my planner and pen, and ask you when the final exam was.   I’m sure there are plenty of readers out there who will question my rationale.  After all, the word “final” is inherently frightening.  It is the end, the finish, the death knell, the swan song; no re-dos, no second chances.  The key element of midterms, however, is the word “mid.”  Midterms take place around the middle of the term.  The time when you have to put in extra hours at work, turn in that journal assignment, complete your house chores, have orchestra rehearsal, have an appointment with your career counselor, want to go to the football game…it can feel as though there is no ample time to study.   And although your RAs may be sympathetic, they cannot guarantee that your dorm will be a peaceful place to study.  It’s a free country, and if your roommate wants to blast Zac Brown, you’re not in as good of a position to protest.  Midterms generally take place during class time, and for some people, fifty minutes is not sufficient time to tackle an exam.  In addition, while a class can have only one final, it is possible for a class to have multiple midterm exams.

    And yet, with all that said, I recently discovered that I wouldn’t want to be in a class without a midterm.  This realization occurred last summer, when I was taking Intercultural Communication as a week long course.  Since the course was so short, our final paper was due a couple of weeks after our class stopped officially meeting.  This final assignment was to interview someone from another culture and write a paper about our discoveries.  Having confidence in my academic writing abilities, I interviewed my friend from Vietnam, quickly churned out a paper, edited it once, and sent it to my professor.  No worries…until I discovered that I had earned a B+ in the course overall.  After discussing my grade with my professor, I had learned that my final paper was what ultimately lowered my grade.  Although my paper was well written, it did not directly address the academic terms and social patterns that we had learned about in class.  In hindsight, I should have shown my professor a rough draft of my paper.   Since the course was so brief, I didn’t have the benefit of a midterm; I didn’t have the opportunity to learn from experience what my professor wanted and to produce an “A” worthy final when I needed it most.  In other words, a big lesson I learned is that midterms don’t have to be intimidating; they can actually make final exams less so.  They can provide you with a cushion come finals time, or they can be the wake-up call you need to succeed.

    The most successful midterms I experienced at Oregon State were the ones where the professors clearly outlined what they expected from a midterm in advance.  One example of a professor who does an excellent job of providing information about her midterm exams is Charlotte Headrick, who teachers Theatre History here at OSU.  Paying heed to Charlotte’s detailed information regarding her midterms served me well; in fact, during my last theatre history class with her, I did so well on both midterms that I was completely excused from taking the final! Of course, not all teachers will explicitly state what’s expected on their exams.  If you feel unsure about to expect on your midterm exam, or what your teacher wants to see in your midterm paper, I highly recommend looking up your teacher’s office hours and making an appointment.  Your professors are being paid to help you succeed; make them work a little harder for their money!

    What you do after your midterms is just as important as what you do before.  If you do an excellent job on an exam, keep doing what you’re doing.  Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. But if you don’t do so well on a midterm, NOW is the time to ask your professor questions if you haven’t done so already.  Ask him why you got marked down in certain areas and what you can do to improve (and sometimes, you just may need your teacher to decipher his handwriting).  And be proactive: if you notice what parts of an exam you did poorly on, you know what you need to fix. If you know somebody who DID do well, you know who to ask to be in your next study group.  And if worse comes to worse, if a midterm makes you realize that you can’t pass a class despite your best efforts, it’s good to be aware of the final drop date.

    If you have a midterm coming up, good luck!  You’re lucky to already have this opportunity to learn how to receive the most benefit from your classes.

    P.S. One more thing: check out this link for several helpful studying tips.  It’s awesome!


    Welcome all new Beavers! My name is Alison Blazer and I’m a sophomore majoring in Speech Communication. Having only one year of Oregon State under my belt, I was not too long ago new to this campus, just like you.

    Here in the Beaver Nation, there’s a rather large contingency of engineering students, pre-pharmacy students, animal science students etc. While each and every one of these subjects holds importance in society today, I want you all to keep in mind that being a student of the College of Liberal Arts is just as key a position to hold.

    I came to OSU as an English major, and switched later on to a major in Speech Communication. My whole life I have been interested in working with people on a more interpersonal level than many math and science students care to do. Now I’m not saying that students who delve deeper into those more fact-based subjects are in any way lacking intelligence. The fact is that, my freshman year, I was regarded as the one lacking intelligence!

    With engineering being a main focus at Oregon State, I continuously ran into students doubting the importance of what I do. People would rhetorically ask me “Why would you ever major in Communications?” as if just to get a rise out of me.

    My personal interest in this endless battle comes from the inherent label of “slacker” being thrown about when it comes to students studying the liberal arts. I, along with many of my liberal arts peers, rarely show a strong interest in anything math or science related, mainly because such subjects don’t seem worthwhile or invigorating. On the other hand, skeptics of the liberal arts don’t just express a disinterest in the subject, but rather a discounting of the necessity of the subject as a whole.

    The fact is, while math and science are indeed important subjects, I have always been far more intrigued by writing, reading, the study of rhetoric and interpersonal relationships. To some people these focuses may be insignificant, but as long as we CLA students stick together, we can stand up and defend our academic choices.

    My first winter term on campus, I was talking with an upperclassman majoring in Civil Engineering. When he asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I essentially told him that I wanted to work with people, most likely on a college campus, perhaps as the Dean of Student Life or in some other facet of student affairs. He discounted my goals, asking what my work was going to the do for the public. The buildings that he would one day design were going to be used by the public every day. While I acknowledge that engineering, in any form, is a tough topic, the importance and my personal love of Liberal Arts are both things that are sorely misunderstood.

    Although my fellow Liberal Arts peers may not design buildings or develop new pharmaceuticals, each of them will surely contribute to society in a positive way. I have now met students here whose wide range of future plans astonish me. Each of them has been working for years toward their goals, whether it’s teaching history to high school students, being a sports news broadcaster or even joining the Peace Corps.

    Those students who trek through the rather continuous questioning of their purpose here on campus will go on to serve just as vital a role in society as any other major. A degree in the liberal arts can be molded to fit any type of future, ranging from movie producer to political activist.

    As you venture into the wonderful Beaver Nation, remember- CLA is not for everyone, but it is for you! If you have a passion for psychology or philosophy or even the theater arts, embrace what you love and don’t take any flak from your fellow students! After all, we know that they’re just jealous because we’re a bit better with our words.