Keeping it together: tips to finish the year strong

Photo credit: Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Photo credit: Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

With the recent announcements surrounding the cancellation of all face-to-face lectures and seminars from Brock University’s administration, it may be a challenge to complete assignments and essays. Here are a few tips to help finish the year strong.

With the shift in course essays, tests and work to an online forum, it is important to stay motivated to complete personal goals for the term.

Use a calendar to organize. Professors have the option to finish the term at their discretion. Students are encouraged to read emails carefully and to follow the new guidelines on their professor’s layout. A strategy to keep these changes organized is to make or print a calendar to see exactly where everything is due and add new expectations such as seminar online submissions. Colour code the calendar for a new exam and essay expectations to have a visual idea of what is left to complete.  

Prioritize the course work. Think about what is due first and also what assignments hold the highest grade value and plan to put more time and effort into these areas. Make a list of the high priority tasks and work through them one by one.

Work to complete readings. No matter the format, course readings can be time-consuming. Plan when the text must be read by and commit to reading a set amount each day

Try something new to help with study motivation. Try a different study idea to make it interesting. Make a matching game with important terms or print off a study page and then cut it into strips, mix them up and put them back together correctly. This will provide something with a little more excitement than just reading the work again and again. Changing the method of learning from visual to kinesthetic or from visual to auditory may help keep study time interesting and allow students to learn something easier. Since Public Health Ontario is recommending avoiding social gatherings, Skype or Facetime a friend to study together or digitally send a pop quiz to a friend and have them do the same for you. Students can learn the material by writing the quiz and the questions friends send may allow for a different material to focus on.

Completing essays and assignments. Make a plan per day for each essay. Make a commitment to read a research text, write a specific number of pages that day or format the page and the bibliography or works cited and number the pages. It may not seem like much, but the work has to get done eventually, so doing something each day will help complete assignments without the rush at the end of the term.

Consciously avoid procrastination. This is easier said than done right? Realizing the tendency to procrastinate is important. Here are some tips to help do the work before  getting into something else because it is easier to keep going than to get the motivation to start. Set a timer to help set a time when to start work or when to stop. Decide that Netflix is only an option after the work that is allocated for the day is done. Also, the phone is a major distraction so make a plan to put it away in another room for a set amount of time. As a reward after an hour or two hours of work then go get the phone. 

Be sure to take breaks. After the work is completed then take that much-needed break. Go for a walk, workout, do yoga or just something physical. One strategy is to set specific work times. For example, start working at 9:00 a.m. and then work until lunch. Lunch is the break time then after an hour get back to work and schedule another break later.

It is OK to take breaks, have naps or occasionally binge watch a series, but make a conscious effort to get back on track. By changing old routines and habits, students can find ways to get through the end of term strong.  

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