With one week of regular classes remaining, students now face the challenge of finishing projects and studying for their last round of exams before finals.
The last day of classes this semester is on Tuesday, Nov. 24 with finals following in the first week of December. Students must now find ways to maintain their academic motivation before they can officially take off at semester’s end.
To be proactive during this time, Brittney Oliver, an academic coach at A&M’s Academic Success Center, said it is important for students to get a clear picture of what is left to do and plan for how they are going to tackle the workload.
“Take a look at all of your syllabi and write down all remaining due dates,” Oliver said. “Block out time on each of the five days before your exam to study for it [and] map out when you will work on other remaining assignments. Aim for as much balance as possible across the days rather than loading up one or two days.”
Although students have already completed the bulk of the workload for each course, English sophomore Annette Bergsagel said they must not overlook the importance of their last few assignments.
“Often, the assignments with the biggest percentage of our overall grade will appear at the end of the semester, [so] we must work hard to keep our grades up,” Bergsagel said. “By the end of the semester, we also better know our professors and the amount of effort necessary to complete the classwork. [It’s] our prime time for success in each class.”
However, Bergsagel said procrastination can be a common struggle for students when the workload seems overwhelming, but it does not have to be seen as a daunting task.
“To both myself and others, I would say to work on everything in baby steps,” Bergsagel said. “Small amounts of studying each day not only help avoid doing everything at the end but also helps us learn better. I also enjoy my studies more when I set aside time for them days in advance, which in turn helps with motivation.”
In addition, Rafael Almanzar, an academic advisor in the Office for Student Success, said students should work to directly address the roots of their procrastination.
“The first step is to identify when you are procrastinating and ask yourself why,” Almanzar said. “There is a hidden and deeper feeling behind procrastination, and it is often feelings of self-doubt. If you’re doubting yourself, use positive talk. This is easier said than done, but if you approach anything with a negative mindset, more likely it will produce a negative outcome.”
When academic motivation seems lacking, Almanzar said he recommends students revisit the goals they set for themselves prior to the semester.
“If your goal was to earn a 3.5 GPA this semester, are you on pace to meet that goal? If you work hard now and finish strong, you can then enjoy [Thanksgiving] break with peace of mind,” Almanzar said. “It builds confidence in your ability to perform well in your academics.”
Ultimately, the core motivation in successfully completing the semester comes down to whether the students want to maintain the progress they have made so far or make up lost ground, Oliver said.
“If you have really been putting in effort and have seen that pay off, you definitely don’t want to let that go to waste. If you have some points you would like to make up and improve your grade, [this] is the time to really ramp things up,” Oliver said. “The semester is a marathon, and now is the time for the strong finish.”