By Pamela Clark, director of student services and admissions
No one would argue that this semester has been a bit unusual, with the constant worry around the pandemic, mostly online classes, no fall break, the unrest around the election, and social distancing for the holidays. Is it just me, or has this semester seemed longer than usual?
Even with all of this chaos and concern the semester will continue and the show must go on. We have all had to adjust our lives and find new ways to exist, and that has been a bit exhausting. I hope that while we are on a break this week, we can all give ourselves time to hit the refresh button before finishing out the remainder of the fall semester.
I put together some tips that will hopefully keep you going and be good reminders that can push you through these last few weeks. Never forget that we are here with a listening ear when you need it, and though we will also be working virtually, we are still as close as a click to a Zoom room.
Pamela’s Tips to finish the semester
Set aside specific time to work and study. Planning and organization will truly help you stay on task. I live by my calendar and it helps keep me focused on what needs to be done. You could even go so far as to schedule in which assignments or readings you want to complete in each time slot.
Take healthy breaks from social media. While we sometimes feel like social media is our connection to the outside world, we also need a break from it all. (Did you get tired of campaign ads?)
Make efforts to stay in touch with family and friends. Though we might not be able to see people in person, it is so important that we continue to find time to connect with the people who love us and support us the most.
Take time to create, read, cook, or whatever you love. Many of you know that I make jewelry. This hobby, like many others, helps me to focus on a task that I enjoy and allows me to let go of other thoughts for a period of time. I need a creative outlet to keep me going. It’s important to make time for what fuels you and helps you feel at peace.
Go outside when possible, even if it’s cold. I’ve found that a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air can be just what I need to be able to refocus and get things done.
Practice self-care, including getting enough sleep. I’m not a morning person by nature, but during the week I do my best to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. I get started on things as soon as I can, knowing that the sooner I start, the sooner I can finish.
Remember why you are in this. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment or the task at hand that we lose sight of the big picture. Even though your math class might not seem important sometimes, remember that completing it pushes you closer toward your goal of earning your degree and making your passion your profession.
Go to office hours and ask for help when you need it. Although it is sometimes difficult to ask for help, it is important to recognize when you need it. Your faculty all want you to succeed and take time out of their day to be there to answer your questions and encourage you. It is a mistake to let that opportunity pass you by.
It’s okay to cry. We all reach points that feel overwhelming. I’ll admit that sometimes a good cry helps me to release the negative energy and get back on track.
Reward yourself. Setting short-term goals and reaching them is a great way to make progress through the semester. Once you reach a goal, give yourself a small reward. Take time to watch your favorite show on Netflix, or treat yourself in some way that feels good.
Exercise regularly. Staying active is so important in a time when we feel so confined. It can lift your spirits.
Don’t skip class. Even though you may be running out of steam, it is important to stick to what makes you a successful student. Going to class is at the top of that list.
Get dressed every day. When you shower and get dressed each day, it helps you to get your day started on a positive and refreshed note.
Consider using virtual resources. Many of our campus resources have found ways to move their services to a virtual environment. Take advantage of those resources.
Participate in online social activities. For example, you could join our virtual trivia on December 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Take a nap. Some days when you have been extra stressed, it is nice if you can relax for a bit, close your eyes and breathe.
Eat your favorite foods. I always feel better when I can eat my favorite meal!
Depend on your furry friends. If you have a pet, take them for a walk or cuddle with them for a bit. It is a great stress reliever.
Try to designate a study space that’s not in your bed. Studying in your bed might lead to falling asleep or watching television. If you can designate even a small space for studying, it might help you feel more alert.
Remember that “This too shall pass.”