It 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 with 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:
- 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.
Towson University has an incredible staff that is here to help TU students in all areas of their academic lives.
- Academic Achievement Center– Explore 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.
Academic Advising Center