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Finishing the School Year "Well"

With just a couple of weeks before summer, senior academic mentor Anne Hsia discusses a couple of tips on how to finish the year strong, academically and holistically.

Summer is just around the corner; it’s so close that you can taste it. But before you dive into summer vacation, internships, or summer training and research, you have to successfully hurdle the last—and biggest—part of the semester: finals.

Yes, you’re tired. Maybe you’re feeling burnt out. But you’re so close! Here are some tips to stay focused and maximize your last few weeks of the school year.

Where do you stand?

Take some time to look through the assignments and grades for each of your classes. Are you happy with your current grade? Are there missing assignments or projects that you’ve turned in but are ungraded?

If you are hoping to finish out with a better grade than what you currently have, reach out to your teacher and see if there is any way you can bring up your grade. While you may not have the opportunity to retake a test, pursue the possibilities of earning extra credit in the class, bring up your homework grade, or revise an essay to earn some extra points. Emailing or talking to your teacher in person will show them that you care about their class, which in turn, may give them more reasons to help you reach your goal.

If you are happy with where you are, congratulations! Keep up the good work. Your final project, essay, or exam may need a little more effort than the normal homework and assignments, so create a plan to finish well. If you are unsure how to start, reach out to your ESM mentor or counselor for help!

Take Care of Yourself

The weeks leading up to finals may feel like a mad rush with no time to sleep, relax, or hang out with your friends before everyone disbands for the summer. But it doesn’t have to be!

Make a conscious effort to get a good night’s rest and do fun and life-giving activities! While you don’t want to get carried away and procrastinate on your final assignments, adequate rest and relaxation will actually motivate you to work better and smarter.

You can position breaks as rewards for small milestones on large, multi-step projects. Start early so you can give yourself adequate time to finish the project and work through any unexpected roadblocks. Have study sessions with your friends from class so that you can encourage each other and help one another – the best ideas and most effective content review can often come from working through it all with others!

Remember, however the year finishes, and no matter what your grade in each class ends up being, this is just a small part of a bigger journey. Learn from your mistakes, take small steps, and enjoy the journey! And have a fun and refreshing summer!