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I’m not a genius. I’m never the type who can read lessons and get it immediately. That never works for me. I have an established routine – I read a book, take intense (and by intense I mean verbatim with my own comments) notes while highlighting the book and writing on the margins, and then memorize or re-read the notes. So I never have to look at the book again. It’s pretty tedious, so usually I have to devote one whole day to accomplish this. Then again, it doesn’t always work, specially when I have 100-pages worth of readings and tests on the side.

It gets even more tiring in college, when there never seems to be enough time for anything. Sleep becomes a luxury than a necessity; eating and making myself look decent even more. But since I’ve grown accustomed to this routine, my first instinct when slapped on the face with tons of schoolwork is to panic. How will I get past one reading when in the back of my head I’m thinking of a strategy to get past all the long tests? Pretty creepy.

Sometimes cramming is the only option, specially when working with a group. Obviously I can’t impose my way of doing things because that would just be bossy, so I try to do my part ahead of time so I don’t panic when everyone starts slapping each other with tasks. But when I’m the person to consolidate everyone, uh-uh. It all changes. It all goes back to my frantic, panicky self.

When I resort to cramming, I never get good results. Perfect example: my first French test was a B+ because I was responsible enough to take down notes immediately after each lesson; the second test was a C+ because for some reason, I thought I was gonna be able to cram everything in one seating. Another one: my first Philippine History test was a B+; the second, which I had this afternoon, was a complete, total mess. In my standards at least. We’ll see how that worked out for me.

Word of advice? If you’ve got a well-working, fool-proof plan for yourself, follow it. Don’t be  a know-it-all of yourself; you can never tell what will happen when you deviate from the plan. Cramming isn’t for me, if it’s yours, by all means go ahead.