“Hey Ashley, I know there are only a few weeks of school left but I can’t stay focused on my work when summer is on my mind. What are your best tips for finishing off the school year strong? I’m starting to get lost in my thoughts about my summer plans and it’s hindering on my assignments and grades. Signed, Stressed Scholar.”
Looks like we are in the same boat… And as much as I wish we were on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan soaking up the sun, it looks like our boat is stuck in Valparaiso until May. The end of the school year consists of that last push to turn in papers and projects and study all night for exams that could make or break your grades. So this is just as helpful for me to hear as it is for you.
To begin, here’s a little reminder that you don’t want the last few weeks of school to ruin all the hard work you have been putting in all semester. I know for me I see these last weeks as a time to do what I need to and then I’ll get all summer to relax and take a much needed break from school. So keep that in the back of your mind as you keep trucking along.
Recently, I just went through my planner and made my “End of the School Year List.” It consists of every single assignment, paper and exam coming up. This is extremely helpful because it lets me visual what I have left, and after each is accomplished I cross it off until the whole list is done. Not only is it a good visual but it is also a convenient way to plan my days off off, but it lets me divide up how much time I need to work on each assignment and figure out what days I need to allocate time for studying for an exam.
If you don’t do something like this already, I highly recommend it. You can even take it a step further by categorizing your list. I do this by making three categories: ASAP, near future and prep for finals. I then assign each category a color. I’ll then go through my list and highlight each point with a certain color that correlates with the assignments due date. This will help you stay focused on the end of the school year and it allows you to clearly see what needs to be done.
Now that you have some organizational tips to help finish off the semester, let's talk about not getting lost in those summer plans. I don’t blame you for thinking about your summer trip to the your best friend’s house on the lake or going to Florida to visit your grandma, but when you're sitting in class these thoughts can be distracting.
Instead try to plan fun things on the weekend you can look forward to while you’re still in school; these short term incentives make it easier to know if you finish all your homework by Friday you can spend the weekend with your friends exploring downtown Valpo or having movie nights. Then as time passes the short term incentives to get work done make the time go by faster until summer since you're looking forward to something that is occurring sooner.
Summer is like the finish line at the end of the marathon -- right now you are in the final push but you are so close. Keep these tips in mind, Stressed Scholar, as you finish out these last few weeks. Look forward to some of the last weekends with your friends before you leave each other for summer and crank out those assignments and projects to keep those grades up.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Torch.