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Home Stretch: How to Thrive at the End of the Semester

It's mid-April, and that means college students are in the home stretch with anywhere from 2-6 weeks left of the academic year. March Madness is over, the weather is getting better, summer plans have probably been fleshed out, and the last place many students want to be is in class, studying, and writing papers.

With finals on the horizon and end-of-year activities gaining momentum, the temptation to do the bare minimum and coast through becomes all too real. The trend of skipping class to enjoy the lake may seem appealing, but it's crucial to remember that these final weeks can make a significant difference in your academic journey. Students who feel they're falling behind or not performing well may be considering giving up, but it's important to stay resilient.

How can students overcome the temptation to take shortcuts at the end? Where can they get the motivation to finish strong?

Tips for Thriving at the End of a Term:

  1. Be proactive and plan ahead: Mark all final projects, papers, and exams on a calendar and strategize how you will complete them in smaller, manageable chunks. This approach will not only make your workload feel more realistic and doable, but it will also give you a sense of control over your academic journey. Fight the procrastination monster.

  2. Be kind to yourself. Maintain a positive outlook about what you can accomplish. Cultivating a growth mindset that focuses on what you CAN do if you work hard will propel you much further than negative self-talk. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m just not a math person; I’ll never get this, "tell yourself, "I can learn these concepts if I focus and work hard.” This shift in mindset can make a world of difference in your academic performance.

  3. Reward yourself after doing things you really didn't want to do. Did you attend all your classes that week? Then it's time for a movie night with friends!

  4. Build in fun time—While the last few weeks have been overwhelmingly busy, it’s important to take a little time to relax and have fun. To give yourself a needed break, you could take a yoga class, eat out with a friend, or do anything else you enjoy.

  5. Get enough sleep – all-nighters seem to function as bragging rights, but evidence has repeatedly shown that students perform better when they are well-rested. Aim for 7-8 hours per night during these crucial end-of-term weeks.

  6. Use campus resources – don’t try to go it alone. --Use tutoring services for tough subjects --Go to The Writing Center for help with papers --Attend exam reviews when offered --Go to the professor and TA during office hours --If you have accommodations through Disability Services, use them!

Best of luck during the home stretch. Practice these strategies, and you'll have a more positive experience during this busy, important time.


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