People outside of the Palmer community really don’t have any idea of what kind of coursework we take on each trimester, and I find that their new-found understanding is the result of three typical questions. The first question I usually get asked is, “How long are you in school?” My answer of three solid years isn’t that surprising to most people. They will then follow up with, “How much schooling do you have left?” When I reply with, “I’m in my third trimester,” I am met with confused expressions as the person scans my abdomen assuming I’m talking about pregnancy! I quickly add that Palmer is a ten trimester program. (Sometimes I just play that little trick to mess with people!) The third question is along the lines of, “What is your credit load?” The answer to this question is what really shocks people…The average credit load of a Palmer student is right around 28 credits per trimester. (It makes our 15 credit semester in undergrad seem like a day at the beach!) While the credit load is heavy, it is not impossible. Here is what I have learned along the way to help me be successful and still live a balanced life.
1. Plan ahead: You cannot study for exams at Palmer the night before. Well, you probably could, but I would guess you would not be that happy with your grade, and you will be exhausted for the rest of the week with possible other exams.
2. Use a calendar: You will know at the beginning of each trimester the exact dates of all your exams. Reference this frequently!!! Don’t plan a weekend getaway before a week of three exams.
3. Know when it is time to take a break: There are nights when I know that I just need to take the night off from studying. If I tried to force myself to sit down and study, it wouldn’t be productive anyway, so I might as well relax and get a good nights sleep so that I can feel refreshed to study the next day.
4. Do what you love: Every trimester at Palmer so far, I have managed to get out on my bike, hike a trail or two, visit friends and family on a weekend, and read at least one fiction book apart from my studies. These are things that I love to do, and school should not keep me from them. You have to keep investing in relationships; life doesn’t stop when you come to Palmer.
So with that being said, prepare yourself for some hard work ahead, but keep it all in perspective. And strive to live a full life while you are here at Palmer. It’s an exciting ride!
Leah Hetebrueg, 3rd Trimester Student