Closing The Semester Strong

Garrett Webber, Reporter

Now that Spring Break has passed, we are officially on the back nine of the semester. Summer is right around the corner, and visions of lake days, warm weather, and no school can be intoxicating for a college student. Nonetheless, classes will be ramping up with assignments, projects, and the much-dreaded finals week. This is a make-or-break time for many students, while some of you may simply be looking to maintain your level of academic performance up to this point. Whichever side of the spectrum you fall on, closing out this semester in a strong fashion will be important. Here are some things to focus on for the next few weeks to make sure that you are satisfied on May 14th.   

Speaking for myself, skipping class can be enticing once the weather gets nice. We all know that life in North Dakota gets exponentially more enjoyable once the snow melts. After dealing with a frozen tundra for the past five months, the last place anybody wants to be is in a classroom. It is safe to say that there are many more entertaining things to do on a Thursday or Friday afternoon in April and May than to attend a lecture. Sitting around a circle in lawn chairs with your friends can be extremely seductive. However, this temptation must be resisted. Not only does class attendance give you access to essential course information, but it keeps you engaged with the class. Additionally, professors are much more willing to give leeway and exceptions at the end of the semester to students whose faces they recognize from lectures.  

Most, if not all, students have forgotten about a deadline at some point. If you are lucky, you realize the mistake when you still have time to complete the necessary work. This can be costly at the end of a semester when points come at a premium. Staying up to date with your syllabus can prevent due dates from taking you by surprise. Being aware of not only what is due for the current week, but also the following weeks as well is a great approach that will get rid of any blind spots in your courses.  

Studying is something that will obviously improve your results for this Spring semester. However, there are different approaches to studying to think about. When I was a first-year student, I had to spend a lot of time in my dorm room due to COVID-19 restrictions. One place I went to study at the end of the semester was the Chester Fritz Library. The library is a quiet place with tons of great spots to study. Parts of the building have not been renovated in a while, so certain rooms have an old aesthetic that can make studying more enjoyable. The library is a great place to go study if you are feeling cooped up in your dorm room, apartment, or house.  

As college students we all have limited time. There are several aspects of our lives, from class to social life to working, that require attention and effort. In addition, each class requires various levels of effort and time. Certain classes are worth more credits or have tougher material than others. Knowing where you stand in each class, along with how the level of performance necessary in them is great going into the end of the semester. You might have a class where you need to perform better than you have been so far, and some classes where there is a margin for error. Understanding these things will help you go into the last few weeks of classes prepared with a plan of action.  

At the end of the day, some students care more about their courses than others. If you find yourself constantly tense and worried about classes, keep in mind that the letter in the gradebook is only a letter. It’s great to get straight A’s, but this is often unrealistic. Remember the age-old adage, “What do they call the person who graduated last in their class from med school? Doctor.” Now, I, professors, and your future patients hope that you aim higher than last in your class, however, getting a lower mark in a class than you hoped for is not the end of the world. Take time over the next few weeks to unwind and relax, which will help your academic performance.  

The end of a semester, and especially finals week, is a stressful time for students. Luckily enough, there are approaches and plans that can help you ease pressure and achieve your academic goals. 

Compartmentalizing different tasks, knowing what needs to be done, and staying engaged in courses while taking time to relax will help make the worst time to be a college student a little more enjoyable. Good luck for the rest of the semester. 


Garrett Webber is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]