Perspective from a Seasoned Veteran
By SAM THOMPSON
I’ve been there and done it all. In a couple of weeks I will be completing my undergraduate studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Though the senior slump has set in for me and my senior counterparts, there is still work to be done before the conclusion of the semester. I wanted to hand down my experiences to you on how to finish the semester strong like a torn hand-me-down shirt from your older sibling…
1. START NOW
Don’t wait until the week before finals to begin that 20-page research paper or start studying for that test worth 33 percent of your grade. It’s just not worth it, and quite frankly, it AIN’T cool. Start the process of studying and researching now. This doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once, but make a dent now compared to later.
I have found that if I work incrementally on my large assignments, I become more productive, have a higher quality of work and have less stress in my life once I am done. Give it a try. Start the process now and continue to work on it day-by-day instead of the night before. You will have more free time to enjoy you favorite activities and will have less stress coming up to finals week.
2. SAY HI
If you haven’t introduced yourself to your teacher yet this far into the semester or haven’t gone into his or her office to ask a question, go now. It doesn’t matter if it’s an obvious (stupid) question, the fact that you are going to an instructor’s office to advance your understanding of the course is huge.
Teachers greatly appreciate a student who makes the effort to come in to ask questions or seek help on an assignment. It shows your commitment to absorbing and understanding the knowledge they offered
Another reason it is beneficial to stop by and say hi is that it gives them a face and a name to remember. You aren’t the most important person in their world (sorry to break the news to you). By making a concerted effort to go in multiple times to just say hi or to ask for help, you form a relationship. I have done this with every instructor I have had since I was freshman.
As my senior year is coming to an end, I am seeing the rewards. By working to be more than just a face in the crowd , I have received great letters of recommendations from teachers, a grade boost if I’m on the edge and a lifelong relationship with some brilliant individuals.
3. THE WISE ORGANIZE
Frequently it feels as if all your teachers have collaborated to stockpile big projects and tests towards the end of the semester. OK, so life’s not always fair. This is where organization becomes key in successfully dominating the end of the semester.
With all of these assignments being due around the same time, you need to organize your notes, work and time accordingly.
Most important of these three is time. We all have a calendar on our phone or computer, so use it. Set aside time each night of the week, time permitting, to tackle assignments.
This not only helps you visually realize the time restraints you have in completing your assignment, but it is also a vehicle to keep you accountable in doing your school work.
Next, organizing your work is important. Create note cards, retype your notes in a word document, get colorful pens or whatever makes your organizational heart flutter.
Using these type of organization tools will take some time, but will be beneficial in the heat of studying. It will allow you to quickly find what you are looking for.
No one likes to have jumbled heap of papers on a table at the library. Instead, be that cool, calm and organized person when studying. I think the saying goes, “If you organize your study material good, you feel good.”
4. GET OUT!
The last couple of weeks in the semester can be daunting. I can attest to this. The library and studying constantly can soon consume life like Joey Chestnut throwing down hot dogs at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
It happens really fast and it seems impossible to escape the confines of the depressing library. And this is why this next step is the most important to do….
We all need to get out.
College students all over the Midwest – and especially in Minnesota – have subtle signs of seasonal-depression. This winter has been horrifying.
When you have a chance to get out go to the volleyball courts by Carkoski Commons, play frisbee on the football practice fields, go run around the trails or head down Stadium hill to Rasmussen Park. We have amazing outdoor complexes at this university. Taking advantage of them is essential to having a successful semester.
Go out and do what makes you happy and then get your butt back to studying.
AND FINALLY…FACING FAILURE
I’ve been through a lot during my four years here and have met a lot of amazing people. I have also learned a couple of life lessons that I would like to end with.
The greatest lessons I have learned here involve failure and love.
I started college at a sports management major intent on becoming an athletic director. That dream failed when the field of public relations grabbed my interest and I became a mass media major. Again, the dream failed when I realized being a lawyer was my path in life. I applied, was accepted and am attending law school in the fall (let’s hope this dream doesn’t fail because it will be a very expensive failure).
You see, we all fail. Whether that be in our dreams, our relationships with loved ones, in a paper or in an entire course. We have all had minor and major failures in our life. How we face failure helps shape our character.
Here’s how I see failure. I have learned to fall in love with the process of failing, because I get to wake up each morning knowing that I am human, that I am not perfect and that I need to evolve with the world.
I chose this way of thinking because if I learned to fall in love with the process of succeeding I would become complacent in my relationships with others, my work and how I treat those around me.
I hope you all finish the semester strong. Start the process now, stick your head in your professor’s office, organize your material and get out. Finally, know that the course in each of our lives rests in our reaction — and our resolve — in the face of failure.