This has been a fall semester like none other. We’ve all been doing our best to simply make it work in the midst of a global pandemic. This is no easy task! Perhaps you’re back at school taking in-person classes this semester, or maybe you’re taking classes from the comfort of your childhood bedroom. No matter your location, here are four recommendations to help finish off strong!
#1. Applaud yourself!
You have spent the last two months (or more!) balancing schoolwork with your physical and mental health and safety, and you’ve had to adjust expectations, routines, and living situations along the way. This is quite the undertaking. Give yourself a pat on the back, air high five a friend, enjoy an ice cream sundae, or find another reward to celebrate this not-so-small victory!
#2. Take a tally
What has gone well this semester? Where have you struggled? Are you pouring all of your time and energy into two classes, while the other two or three have fallen to the wayside? Has one type of assignment gone well, while others have been trickier? What has class participation looked like this semester? Are your classes remote, in-person, or a combination? Are you a “chatty Kathy” for your in-person or synchronous classes, but you’re struggling to keep up with written discussion posts? Give yourself time to reflect on your successes and on your struggles.
#3. Make a plan
Great job identifying what’s going well and where you may feel confused! Now to finish on a high note! How do you typically manage your time? Do you keep a spiral-bound paper planner? Is iCal your BFF? Maybe you love your monthly desk calendar. No matter your preference, let’s put your preferred method to work to get the most out of it.
Start out by adding each assignment deadline (large and small) to your calendar of choice.
Think: “Is this a large or small priority for me?” AND “how much time do I need to complete this task well?”
Set a timeline: How far in advance would you like to begin different long-term assignments? How long do your smaller, daily tasks take you to complete? What are the times of day when you are most productive, and which tasks can you complete during these times? Making your time visual can help keep you on track, complete assignments ahead of time, and feel a great sense of accomplishment because you can easily monitor your progress!
#4. Use your resources
With your plan in place, it’s time to get answers to any lingering questions.
Is an upcoming assignment or exam tripping you up?
Check out your syllabus to find your instructor’s or TA’s office hours. Make a point to attend (even if it’s over Zoom) or to schedule a separate meeting if need be. Having your questions answered will allow you to dive into your work much more quickly! And even more, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to the class to your professor. Definitely a win-win!
Do you have a long-term paper coming up?
Connect with a research librarian on campus (or over Zoom!) to get a head start on your research. They can help to narrow your focus, zero in on the best peer-reviewed journals for your topic, and request books through inter-library loan, helping you to make the most of your time.
Check out your school’s Writing Center and make an appointment with a writing tutor. They can help with anything from brainstorming and outlining, to thesis development, to selecting quotes, to reviewing citations, and more.
Are exams a sticking point for you?
Check out campus tutoring opportunities, form a study group with friends, or head to Khan Academy for online tutorials, to make sure up to speed on the course content.
Do you have more specific questions about how best to utilize your time, break down assignments, prepare for exams, and more? Let’s connect! Email me at danaroseroth at gmail dot com and let’s chat!