Advice from an Alum: So it’s the end of the semester….

Finals are approaching.

In a perfect world, you have been organized, created a schedule, set achievable goals, studied a little every evening, attended office hours, and found time to exercise, sleep, and socialize.

Or, like I often found myself guilty of, those ambitious plans I set in January had fallen to the wayside. And, with COVID, such preparation has been even more complicated.

Those last few weeks can be draining and a whirlwind. Let’s talk about how to make the end of your semester bearable.

1) Find what you like. Do you love color-coding your notes? Do you like fancy pens and moleskin notebooks? What about a favorite Spotify playlist? What about your favorite iced coffee on standby?

Think about what puts you in the right mindset and set the tone. There is no “right” way to study. The best way to prepare is by engaging yourself and your interests in whatever way possible.

2) Reward yourself when you can and celebrate your wins – no matter how small. When I was on campus that meant a slice of Antonio’s after a day outlining in the library or meeting a friend at Blue Wall between exams. Maybe now it’s your favorite takeout and a virtual movie date after a weekend of grueling essay writing. Maybe it’s new gel pens to write out your review guide.

Showing up for yourself and future you, by putting your best foot forward, is worthy of all the praise.

3) Schedule time each day to talk to people about anything other than academics. If you find yourself wondering how there could be so few hours in the day, start scheduling a daily FaceTime to family or a quick text chain with a best friend or partner. Bonus points if you can pencil it in while on a brisk walk outside.

Your focus (and sanity!) will be all the better after the mental and emotional break.

4) Telling you not to stress or worry is futile and from an alumna, I know that can seem like the world’s worst advice. Instead, for those of you who will stress regardless, I advise you let yourself feel whatever you need to in order to move through it. If you need to cry in utter frustration over your organic chemistry or Constitutional Law course before even thinking about making another flash card, do it.

5) Visualize the end. What is waiting for you at the end of this semester? Is it the thought of being done with this GenEd requirement? Is it the ability to be one more step closer to your dream career or grad school? An academics free summer?

Above all, remind yourself this has been an unprecedented year. Whether you’re wrapping up your freshman year or your senior year, you have already proven your ability to conquer challenges is limitless.

Give yourself grace as this semester comes to an end and best of luck!

By Samantha La Penna, Class of 2018, Legal Studies & English
Samantha La Penna, Class of 2018, Legal Studies & English Class of 2018, Legal Studies & English