Monthly Archives: December 2014

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…..Well, almost!

5d264783332d570e36d280666b9772c82f76a148bb3191c5d145cb93460e2ed1It is easy to get sidetracked this time of year when thoughts of Life After Finals enters our minds. Students, faculty, and staff are all guilty of allowing ourselves to peer too long into the light at the end of the tunnel, one hopefully filled with holiday cheer and important time reconnecting with family and friends. I am writing to offer perspective on how to successfully navigate the coming weeks, so that your Life After Finals is filled with time spent not thinking about finals.

Students have already accomplished so much this term, from academic achievements to building life-long relationships, that it may seem almost unfair to have one last hurdle (one with a draconian name, “finals”) standing between you and the finish line. While these assessments may seem like an exercise in stress management, rote memorization, and the ability to function without sleep, consider finals week to be one greater test; a test of character.   School, perhaps serving as a microcosm of life in general, will not always be easy, nor should it. The way in which we address challenges and adversity demonstrates who we really are; perhaps much more telling than a final letter grade in Marketing, Geography, Theatre, or Biology.

Building a stronger character is fundamental to a successful university experience. The best chance at academic, relationship, and career success comes when you develop strong character traits. We should not define ourselves by taking shortcuts, procrastinating (even if we are guilty at certain times), and blaming others for our problems. Being honest with yourself, working hard, and preparing for your challenges are signs of strong character. Practicing these qualities will allow you to take control of the closing minutes of the semester and prepare you for any outcome. Doing your best allows you to end the semester without stressing the “what ifs” or comparing your results character1with the accomplishments of others.

As you depart from campus in the coming weeks, forever or until late January, make the effort to know that you truly did everything you could to succeed. Knowing that you gave it your all, regardless of the outcome, enables growth. Growth and failure can go hand in hand, so as long as the personal failure generates the proper response and introspection. If so, then you will walk away knowing you’ve grown, and have shown the character by which you would like to be judged.

I hope you can now step back and view your finals through a broader lens.

Below are some helpful reminders for the final weeks of the semester:

This week

  • Map out your coming week. Where do you need to be, and when?   Do not arrive late! Parking issues at Towson are not new, and they tend to be magnified during Finals.
    • When/where will you study? Preferably not when you’re tired!
    • What is your current standing, and how much of an impact will the final assessment have? Reach out to your professors. Hopefully it isn’t an introduction at this point in the term!
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. Finals week may be the opportunity to reach or exceed your goals. Will you walk away successful, throw a Hail Mary pass, or fail to act?

Post- December 17th

  • The Big Exhale: give yourself some time to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and acknowledge your accomplishments. You’ve earned it. Students, professor, administrators, and just about everyone on campus, have just completed a 15-week marathon. We all need this time.
  • What went well? What could you have done better? Personal failure and shortcomings can lead to growth.
  • Think ahead. What will you do in the coming weeks to solidify your academic and/or post-academic career? Winter break is an excellent time to reassess your interests and goals, explore internships and careers, and solidify your degree plan. Check out TU’s Career Center and register a Hire@TU
  • Review your Academic Requirements Report and Degree Completion Plan. Are you on track to graduate? Contact your program advisor or the Academic Advising Center to review your progress.

Campus Resources

Towson University has an incredible staff that is here to help TU students in all areas of their academic lives.

  • Academic Achievement CenterExplore and adopt study and time management strategies.
  • Counseling Center Finals can be stressful. Reach out to the Counseling Center for help coping with stress and anxiety.
  • Burdick Hall/Campus Rec- Exercise your body and brain for best results.

Jon Lesh
Academic Advising Center

Fa la la la la Finals Frenzy

Twas the night before finals and all through the dorms, all the students were studying, worried about how they’d perform….The holidays can be a great source of joy and excitement, but they can also be a time of high stress. In college, there is still the usual merriment of gift giving and other traditions, with added pressures of doing well on finals and moving out of the dorms. With effective time management skills, you can navigate the 12 days of finals successfully and still be wearing a festive grin come December 17th!

exam-stress

There are many different sources of stress this time of year from finals to moving out, everyone is extremely busy. The biggest source of stress right now is probably getting ready for one of the most important exams in all of your classes: your final. Preparing for your finals can be very stressful whether this is your first time taking college finals or even it is your last semester of school. Another source of stress this time of year is preparing to head home for the holidays. If you live in a dorm, you have to pack up your clothes and head home until January and this can be stressful whether you’re going across the country or just around the beltway. Effective ways to combat both of these stressors is to utilize time management techniques and to reward yourself for achieving your goals.

Time Management

Final exams are right around the corner. Learning how to manage your time will help you succeed when preparing for your exams. To help you along your way, here’s a quick list of hits for staying on track as you start your studying.

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s hard to plan every minute of your day around final exams. Do your best to create a realistic schedule and try to stick to it.
  2. Think about the courses you are taking. Some courses are more difficult, and therefore you may need to study longer for these courses, while others you don’t need to spend as much time on them studying for your exam.
  3. Set deadlines. When you set deadlines for yourself, it will keep you on track for long-term goals. If your final paper isn’t due for two weeks, start doing a little bit of research each day, and set a date to start writing.
  4. It’s okay to say no. When studying for final exams, it is okay to tell your friends you cannot hang out with them.

Holiday Rewards

Looking for a way to unwind after all the stress of finals, moving, and out-of-town relatives? Make sure to reward yourself after accomplishing specific goals you set for yourself. For instance, after finishing your studying for finals, you may want to go out to catch an early dinner with friends before settling in for a short winter’s nap; remember, you’re going to need a good night’s sleep before each exam! Well-rested students whose stomachs aren’t growling tend to perform better on tests and exams. Here are a couple ideas for holiday rewards near Towson and the Baltimore area:

  1. Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor: For $9, you can skate away in McKeldin Plaza, even on holidays! After your nose turns frosty, you can use your ice skating wristband for discounts at nearby restaurants and businesses.
  2. $1 Entertainment: This coming weekend, December 6 and 7, you can enter the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, Top of the World (the World Trade Center), and The Christmas Village. Even if you stay for 30 minutes or so before returning to studying, $1 is well worth it!
  3. Federal Hill Moonlight Madness: On Friday, December 12, shops and galleries will stay open until midnight. Enjoy free gift wrapping, caroling, and light refreshments.
  4. The Walters Museum: This free museum—yes, that’s right, FREE—has an awesome permanent collection and is offering The Christmas Story in Art Walk-In Tour this Sunday from 1-2 PM. Take advantage of the free Collegetown Shuttle to get into town; it runs until midnight on Fridays.
  5. Miracle on 34th Street: Drive through hip Hampden and catch the lights on 34th street! For the past 67 years, neighbors on this street decorate their houses and generously encourage visitors to drive by and admire the twinkling lights, hon. Stop by Holy Frijoles, Golden West, or Frazier’s for a bite to eat afterward.

Finals Activities Offered by the AAC:

  1. Last-Minute Q&A Sessions

Worried about your final exams? Come by the Academic Achievement Center in Cook Library anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 PM on Monday, December 8 or Tuesday, December 9. We’ll have tutors on hand for subjects including FIN 331, ACCT 201 and 202, BIOL 190, MATH 111, and more. Snacks and beverages will be on hand to keep you going! Look for more information in T3 soon.

  1. Finals Workshops

Get ready-to-use tools and strategies for studying and planning for finals. Three workshop times are available for your convenience:

  • Monday, December 1 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM in CK 513
  • Wednesday, December 3 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM in CK 513
  • Thursday, December 4 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM ONLINE

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Gina Sabo & Monica Padgett
Graduate Students

Allison Hutchison & Jeremy Boettinger
Learning Specialist

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