Can you believe we only have about a month left before the semester is finished? It feels as though I just moved back to Kingston a week or so ago! With the midterm season almost finished we are heading into the final stretch of the semester. It’s been a busy few weeks thanks to midterms, assignments, extracurricular responsibilities, but I am so glad that I finally have a little break before the final exam/assignment season is upon us!

Midterm season has been challenging in terms of material I needed to cover in a short period of time. Worse, I also had several labs and assignments to finish between my exams. While I made a detailed plan on how I was going to approach all these academic tasks, a few other responsibilities popped up here and there such that my plan became impossible to follow.

I am someone who loves to know exactly what I need to complete in a day because it helps me stay on track and not over-stress myself. Once my plan was out the window, it felt as though the three midterms, countless quizzes, and multiple assignments I needed to do were going to be an impossible task. All of that meant a lot of cramming for exams and last-minute adjustments to my assignments. Worst of all, I did not feel satisfied with my final product. While this did make me feel demotivated to work on the next assignment, I made sure to try to forget about that previous assignment and put my 100% focus on the next task at hand. When you’re down about work, even doing five minutes can help you get started and clear your mind. We all have hard times where we might not have had the opportunity to produce our best effort for a task but finding ways to move on is vital. Reflect on what works for you as you approach the end of the semester.

What does your post-midterm situation look like? For me, I have to catch up on course modules that I was not able to complete due to my midterm exams. As my next two weeks are much lighter in terms of the workload, I plan to use this period to catch up on all that course content. A good place to get started on figuring out a bigger plan is SASS’ End of Term Planning Chart. It’ll take a few minutes to complete but it’ll give you a great handle on where to go next! Apart from academics, I also have to work on my extracurricular responsibilities and so the next two weeks will also be spent on them. That being said, my schedule over the past month has been all over the place and so my goal is to also get back into a normal daily routine that will help me stay focused!

The midterm season is a time when in the past I didn’t really put aside time for myself. Whether it is hanging out with friends, watching the latest soccer games, or just taking a break, I tended to think about nothing but my academics. This year, I wanted to focus on my mental and physical health during this stressful period by leaving time for breaks and fun. I was able to see the difference that this can make:

  1. I concentrated better, letting me complete my tasks faster each day
  2. I was much more relaxed (as I was able to destress by hanging out with my friends)
  3. I was able to spend quality time studying because taking those breaks helped me be reenergized and focus on my academics
  4. My mind was not exhausted from constant studying (or constantly thinking about studying) and this helped me to thoroughly learn concepts

If I could tell my first-year self one thing, it would be about the importance of taking those much-needed breaks during stressful times of the year! You’ll study better and more efficiently if you take time out.

Before the holiday season is upon us and you find yourself at home and deciding which of the endless Home Alone movies you’re going to be watching in your PJs, make sure the last month of the semester is one that you will be proud of! We can always change our future by focusing on the present rather than dwelling on the past.

Let’s finish off strong! – Santosh

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