Sep 132010
Authors: Molly Ungerer

All the color had rushed out of my face, I was uncontrollably shaking and I was sweating through my bangs. I had just scored a 66 percent on the first exam of my college career.

I’m sure you’ve heard it more than once: Time management is everything; just be sure to manage your time; you’ll fall so far behind if you don’t manage your time wisely.

So here I am to tell you one more time. Time management is crucial. They really weren’t kidding when they were beating this into my head.      
Hopefully I catch some of you with this article before you have taken your first test as a college student. I realize that a handful of you have already been in classes that have distributed the dreaded assessments. However, I would still love to share some advice and a short story about how my first test as a freshman at CSU played out.

It was definitely a painful learning experience. 

I have this analogy for students surviving school. You’re running alongside of a train, holding onto one of the handrails. At the beginning of the year, you start really strong and you’re keeping up with the train. Once you miss an assignment or just blow it completely is when you trip and try to pick yourself back up while still running with the train.

You continue to stumble, falling further behind in your work. Once you get behind, though, it’s rare to ever fully recover. So you continue to trip and eventually you’re being dragged alongside of the train, continuously doing poorly due to your initial trip up. In some cases, you will be completely consumed by this vicious cycle and taken under the train, representing failing one or more classes.

In my class before the first exam, the teacher mentioned that the test would include the lecture as well as the chapters from our textbook. First thought through my panicked mind: “We have a text book for this course?”

I had spaced that we even received a book for the class. We had covered roughly six chapters from this textbook, each consisting of at least 45 pages.
It was also brought to my attention the night before the test that I also had an eight to 10 page paper due on the same day as the test. So that night I was up until 5:30 a.m., alongside my roommate who had the same paper due, cranking it out and reading about 270 pages of solid text.

I woke up the next morning for my 8 a.m. class with no time for breakfast, so I settled for my first five-hour energy shot experience.

In my 8 a.m. math class, it was 8 a.m. It was quiet and the students were zombie-like and unresponsive. As I sat in class, I quickly grew delirious from lack of sleep and nutrients.

This is when I began to uncontrollably burst at the seams with gargled laughter during the professor’s lecture. Weary sighs and moans followed these episodes of my hysterics. Alongside the giggle-fits, I’d immaturely turn to my friend to jab her in the ribs only to point out something that could be perceived as a dirty joke on our worksheet.

We managed to make it to the end of the math lecture without being asked to leave, which could be considered a success for how obnoxious I was being while dragging my friend into my messy morning episode.

Between classes I scrambled through my sketched notes on what I had read. I eventually made it to the class where my failure awaited.

In a class of 360 students, I was among the first five to turn their tests in. This was definitely a red flag for my poor effort. I was so jittery and scattered, I completely tore through the test, not comprehending anything that I was reading or writing down.

At first it may sound great that most of the classes here only consist of three tests and three papers. But that means that they carry that much more weight, and that 66 percent that I scored completely drowned my GPA for the semester.

This is just a real-life illustration to encourage you all to keep track of all the work for every class in hopes to keep your head above water.
With that in mind, I hope that the train doesn’t lose you along the way. Godspeed.  

Molly Ungerer is a sophomore journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 3:51 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.