Last November, I attended a McCombs information session in Washington, DC. I have a distinct memory of Dean Hirst speaking to the prospective students in the room, and one thing he said stood out in particular: “Believe me, the first year students are really feeling the pressure right about now.”
Wow, was he right. I had been warned since orientation what was in store for me in midterms, and was shocked at how soon they arrived. Unlike some second years who were lucky enough to attend the amazing game that was Texas/OU, the majority of first years took residence in the Reliant Productivity Center in the hopes of teaching themselves the concepts they’d be tested on every night for the next five days.
In case you were wondering, you don’t learn much about financial statements as an anthropology major. Pair that with the fact that all that I learned in the statistics class I was required to take as part of my other major (psychology) got me through, oh, about week 1 of my McCombs Statistics course. I cannot really even begin to describe the feeling that is Midterm Week. At first, it was nerves. Then, a completely unsettled feeling. Ultimately, sheer panic. Midterms came and the sinking feeling I had in my stomach didn’t really leave for the week’s entirety.
What I will say, though, is that there is a certain camaraderie that emerges during the week that really brings everyone together. Although everyone is similarly stressed, exhausted and otherwise miserable, everyone is feeling those things together. Additionally, the collaborative nature of McCombs really lends itself to a comfortable class environment. As an example, take the situation that unfolded in Reliant on Thursday, prior to my Finance exam (when EVERYONE’s cramming and NO ONE really has a second to spare).
Me: Excuse me, [enter name of nice guy from a different cohort who I hadn't officially met yet here]. I see you are looking at your finance book. Can I ask you a question?
Nice guy: Sure – how can I help?
Me: I’m looking at this problem in Chapter 5 and I can’t seem to get the right answer. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong?
NG: Let me take a look. Oh – you’re doing everything right, you just have this one concept wrong. Let me explain it.
It was amazing to me that someone who I had never met would take the time out of his busy day to help someone who wasn’t even in his class. But that’s how McCombs is. Which is why I love it here. Stress of midterms or not, this place has some really quality people.
The week ended with a post-midterm party put on by the Graduate Business Council (and well attended by first and second year students alike). After a week like we had, you can imagine the need for the opportunity to blow off steam. The post-midterm party was followed by the amazing UT victory over Mizzou – a really exciting home game that featured ESPN’s College Gameday. The good news is that although Midterm Week was really tough, it’s over and I’m not likely to have one as intense as this one again. Now, to look forward to more fun, less (immediate) stress, and impending finals that will get here before I know it!