November 11, 2015

MUKHERJEE | Brace Yourselves… Prelims Are Coming

Print More


Now, let me begin this post with a confession — during the first two weeks of college, I found Cornell easy. I remember sitting in my dorm room and wondering what was so difficult about university that it made everybody crib and complain about the workload and the sleepless nights? I thought that I had some extraordinary powers that gave me the ability to cope with the work and that I was going to skate through college. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong!

We are now midway through the semester and I cannot remember the last time I have been able to completely let go and relax. Every week there are new assignments to work on, papers to finish, lab reports to complete; and somehow, in the midst of all of that, we need to unwind and socialize. However, the problem that sits at the very top of the “problem pyramid” is the dreaded “P-word” – Prelim. Just uttering this word is enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone here.

Prelim season is never-ending to be quite honest. It is like the game “Whack-a-mole!” where you smash one mole and another one comes popping up to take its place. Imagine this scenario, except now with prelims. Yes, it sucks to be in that position. The only solace I find while slugging it out during prelim season is the fact that everyone else is stuck on the same boat as me. It is great to know that I am not the only one alternating between studying and stress-eating at 1:00 in the morning.

As daunting as prelims are, there is also a strange sense of camaraderie that forms as result. Every Tuesday and Thursday night circa 7:30 p.m., there is an infectious sort of energy in the air amid the stream of people slowly trekking toward the prelim locations. It is infused with a “We can do this!” attitude and nothing seems impossible. We drink in the crisp cold air and enter the room feeling invincible. How we walk out of the room is a different question, but at least for that moment, we feel powerful and in our element. Maybe I am reading into it a little bit too much, but it is nice to believe that prelims can build up our confidence to a certain extent.

After thinking about it long and hard, I have formed a hypothesis about “prelim season.” Taking a prelim is equivalent to running a marathon. We have to start up slow and steady, build our momentum and at the very last leg of the season, sprint ‘till the end. The entire season is an uphill battle, and sometimes prelims aren’t going to go our way (trust me, I would know). But the entire reasoning behind prelims is to see what we have learned as opposed to another criteria against which we can be judged. It really doesn’t matter whether it is an A or a B or even a C, all that matters is if we feel like we have learned something.

So as we enter into the beginning of the last leg of prelim season, just don’t stress out. Rejoice in the fact that this season is almost over and soon Thanksgiving break will be upon us! Until next time, good luck and happy studying!

Chandreyee Mukherjee is a freshman in the College of Engineering. She enjoys singing, eating and daydreaming whenever she can spare five minutes from homework. Her blog appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester and she can be reached at [email protected].