The final say so

As I wrote in my first article for this semester, I had a specific goal list. And as finals week approaches, I find myself either checking off or crossing out the different goals.

I spent so much time trying to accomplish everything on my “to do list” that my first half of my senior year just flew straight past me. That’s when it hit me. Finals week isn’t only about your last attempt at a good or decent passing grade; it is a time to reflect on your semester. If you’re like me then you have some work to do.

Academically you should ask yourself “did you get the most out of each class?” We as students often rely on a test, primarily the final, to determine our success of the class. Yes, that’s an approach, but it’s not the only one. Did you actually learn anything?

I’m sure you’ve crammed a lot of information in and probably have studied a lot of notes, but have you retained any of that information? Something from each class regardless of the relevance to your major should have stuck with you. If all you did was follow the syllabus and memorize PowerPoint presentations, then you’ve failed the class.

On the opposite end we have the more popular goal: the social aspect. If you went to every club, attended every party, signed up for all student organization and only lived through your Instagram pictures, then you have once again failed. While it is important to have a social life and make friends, it’s equally important to make sure you’ve balanced that life with your academics. If you can stand in line for a party that will be over in a few hours, then you can wake up and take yourself to class that’ll determine your graduation date; after all, you are paying for it.

So what is the “perfect” goal then? The answer is there’s no such thing. The goal is to find the balance between the two; a stable and sensible study schedule that allows you free time as well. My problem in the past and this semester is that I over-commit, and if I’m not working on something then I’m doing something wrong; I’m way too hard on myself and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Allow yourself some breathing room.

If you aren’t satisfied with your fall semester, you have another chance; spring semester is right around the corner. Don’t only note what you did wrong; recall your successes and things you excelled in. Surveying both will give you a better outlook on the upcoming semester and you’ll have a better handle. Work hard, play hard.

Good luck on finals, and I’ll see you in the library!