By Jose Munoz, 2020-2021 SCS Advising Leader:
As we approach the end of the semester, it’s important to think back on the pros and cons that have been produced in our academic lives this semester. Good habits should be reinforced, and bad habits should be reduced. In order to finish the semester strong, a couple of steps can be taken to stay motivated as we head home for fall break. Under these new circumstances, we will not be returning to campus after Thanksgiving break to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread. The following content is a list of things everyone can do whether staying on campus through their lease or heading home.
During the end of the semester tasks that require minimal to moderate effort will not be appealing to many students. This being added on top of hybrid/online learning will cause poor academic performance. What should be understood near the end of Fall is that there is room to improve, but time is limited. Also, there are consequences to poor performance that cannot be fixed with limited time. The first step in any plan is to make short-term and long-term goals. Short term goals should be made to keep track of progress. General short-term goals that can be achieved easily include attending a lecture, finishing an assignment early, and eating a meal. Long-term goals include maintaining a healthy diet during finals, developing better study skills, and mastering a class's coursework. Short term goals can also indicate progress is being made towards a long-term goal. What I’ve learned from goal setting is that not everything can be done immediately. Having goals not only encourages patience, but it forces me to hold myself accountable. When I feel like I need a break, I gauge whether I’m truly tired, or if I’m giving up early since my bed is 5 steps away. An important part of goal setting is to be realistic. At this point in the semester, it may not be easy to rebound a C grade back to an A grade in a class. Setting unrealistic goals can be detrimental to mental health and cause laziness. Setting achievable goals brightens a light at the end of the tunnel.
Setting goals may seem simple on paper, but a schedule needs to be made to stay on track. Nearing the end of the semester, there is minimal room for mistakes to be made on all assignments. It’s important to note not all goals set will require the same amount of attention. Setting a schedule and agenda will help when goals are finished unexpectedly early or late. End of semester scheduling will include internship deadlines, winter semester deadlines, and spring semester scheduling. The free time experienced during thanksgiving break will allow for more time focusing on long term goals such as securing an internship or full-time job. It’s important to schedule things to keep your mind active during thanksgiving break with these deadlines approaching. A week full of non-school-related activities can lead to a loss of time that could be used for academic and professional advancement. This doesn’t mean spend an all-nighter studying. A healthy schedule should include work and fun with neither overwhelming the other.
Finally, do not burn yourself out during the last couple of weeks leading into finals. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. This has been a semester like no other and it must be understood you’re not alone. Taking healthy breaks is the most vital part of finishing the semester. Content in our classes has reached a more advanced point during the end of the semester. The same good and bad habits that worked the first half of the semester may not be appropriate during the second half. As students, it’s our responsibility to adjust to new circumstances and be aware of such facts. Stay persistent and don’t give in to the slump.