Finish Your Semester Strong

Right now, every student—and professor on some level—are experiencing the stressful end of the school year. Every time an end to the semester draws near, students are beleaguered with essays, tests, presentations and projects. These things all place a ton of stress on students as they strive to receive a high grade in their classes. With this stress, it can seem as though students will break, but I am here to tell you that no matter where you are in this semester, you can strive to finish out the semester strong.

This will not be an article where I give you tons of tips to use for how to decrease your stress because everyone has different stress coping methods. However, I have had a few people offer me helpful ways to envision the end of the semester, and the soundest advice I can offer is to have realistic expectations for yourself and work as though the end of the semester is further away than it actually is. This can be very difficult, but if you have the mindset that you will finish all of your assignments on time and to the best of your ability, it becomes much easier to do.

When my parents have asked me about my classes throughout my college career, my reply is always the same: I am keeping my head above water. I think this is the best way to look at academics at the college level; every day you should wake up and attempt to accomplish what you need to for the next day and more if possible. This doesn’t mean that you will not have extreme times of stress, in fact I recently described this last semester as though I was being dragged underneath a boat. However, this outlook also is not unrealistic. No one expects you to be without stress and difficulties during finals times, or, in other words, steering a boat through the murky waters. Viewing your responsibility as just keeping your head above water is much easier.

You should also envision the end of the semester further off than it actually is. When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher, Señor Reid, used to give us a speech as our last quarter began. Reid was a former track star at Hiram College and he would use the metaphor of running a race for the school year. He would describe how the most disappointing finishes of his career occurred when he slowed to cross the finish line, which stopped him from reaching his goals. So, to remedy it, he placed his goal 10 meters behind the finish line. Whenever Reidwas finishing races, he would not slow down until well after he had completed this race.

Reid connected this to our attitudes for our overall semester. If you finish your school year just barely getting by and doing the least to succeed, you will not reach all of your goals.

I know this can be difficult to do; I myself stress out just looking at my planner this time of the year. It is extremely daunting to know that you have countless assignments hanging over your head. However, using the idea of just keeping your head above water, if you take things one day at a time and do the necessary assignments to the best of your ability, your semester will be much easier.

Let’s take the 28 days before graduation and do our very best to finish out the semester strong and achieve all of our goals. After the semester has ended we will be able to begin our summers or, for seniors, the career you have been working towards your entire college career.

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