Dear Peer to Peer . . .

I am a freshman, and I have never taken a midterm before. I have no idea what I’m doing and don’t know what to expect or how to prepare. What is the best way to approach studying for midterms? When should I start studying? Any study tips?


- Apprehensive About Midterms

Dear Apprehensive,


Studying for midterms, and studying in general, is something that is going to be specific to the individual. What works for one person might not work for another. For example, some students find it effective to study material in small increments starting in winter break and ending a few days before the exams. Other students find it effective to leave studying to the last second and dedicate the weekend before midterms to as a crash-course non-stop study session. Truthfully, whatever has been a successful study method for you when preparing for tests and quizzes will probably be the best way to go. We also feel it is important to keep in mind that the way you study for a history exam will probably be different than the way you study for a science exam. Make sure your studying is prescriptive to the specific class you are and the format and content of that exam! Lastly, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you take a break from studying once in a while; get some sleep, shower, and maybe even have fun. Good luck! 

Even though family time is always nice, sometimes my family members have opposing viewpoints that cause conflict. What is the best way to deal with sexist/racist/homophobic/overall ignorant/or politically opposed family members over the holidays?


-Striving for Familial Harmony

Dear Striving,


The first step for dealing with a person with differing views is to approach them with an open mind (it is much easier said than done). Having an open mind means trying to understand where the person is coming from and reserving judgment and preconceived notions. Understanding them does not mean agreeing with them; it simply means seeing why they would think that way. The second step is to decide whether you want to engage in a discussion. Some questions to ask yourself are: Will engaging in this discussion cause conflict beyond what you and your family members are ready to deal with? Are you reacting from a place of hurt? Are you approaching them with compassion? If you decide you want to talk to them, find the right time for you, them, and your other family. Would talking to them after the moment passes be better, or as soon as they say something? Maybe you decide that you don’t want to talk to them; that is okay! An easy way to deal with an uncomfortable/offensive/hurtful situation is to excuse yourself from it. You can hide in the bathroom for a little bit, step outside, or go into another room. While away from the tension, take a few deep breaths and try to calm yourself. Remind yourself that they have reasons for their beliefs. Again, you don’t have to agree with them. Just know that they are a person with unique experiences, like you!

The holidays are coming up, and I am worried about being productive while also having fun over the break. How can we strike a balance between taking a break and enjoying the holidays while not slacking off in school?


-Balancing School And Relaxation

Dear Balancing,


It is super important to take time off from our busy schedules at Westridge to decompress and just have fun! Although technically teachers are not supposed to assign homework over the break, it still does happen. One way to ensure a relaxed, homework-free break is to complete your work on our first day off.  It may be painful to go right back to homework on your day off, but I can almost guarantee it will be less painful than spending your last day of break in your room, doing homework, stressing out over school starting again. That being said, we’re also aware that everyone has different needs during the holidays and that might mean taking a long break from work. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider breaking up your assignments throughout the break and schedule dedicated homework times for you to be productive. Overall, take care of yourself over the break. A break is a break.

If you have a question, contact Spyglass at

Dear Peer to Peer . . . is a Peer-to-Peer affiliated column providing the student body with carefully thought-out and collaboratively-informed answers to student questions. Third-Year Peer-to-Peer students Kat A., Jane A., Lauren B., Hanne I., Lucy K., and Micaela M. thoughtfully considered each question and utilized their 2 years of experience practicing empathetic listening and conflict resolution in tandem with their 4+ years of experience as Westridge students. Please keep in mind these answers, while crafted with considerable insight, are only subjective suggestions.