Semester break is a great time to recharge, relax, and for me it’s been the celebration of conquering 10 weeks of my archnemesis: Statistics.
In these last few days before the new term kicks off, I’d like to encourage you to carve out a bit of your time to make your battle plan for the upcoming term. I say "battle plan" because as a student who is working, balancing a family, and a full-time job, you are a warrior. All great warriors go into the battle with a vivid plan in place, and in the end it is those with the best strategies who prove victorious.
To start, Canvas allows you to look ahead to your future enrollments, so you’ll know which classes you’ll have in the next term. Take a minute and jot down the course numbers and descriptors. Then, go into ACE Student Commons and locate the Syllabi Repository. These are just outlines–what your professor posts at the beginning of class are the official documents–but this gives you an idea of what your headed into with this class.
I’m a bullet journaler, so I take a page and devote it to the weeks. This helps to map out the term and be aware of weeks that may be more demanding than others. Comparing this to my work and personal calendar allows me to know those weeks I may have to call in the cavalry to help and get a sitter for a few hours or carve out some time to spend at the library.
Looking ahead also allows you to ensure that you have the technology needed for the assignments that you’ll be asked to complete. While organizing my battle plan, I saw that I would need to record a video for a class and I realized the microphone on my laptop had stopped working. I was able to get the kinks worked out while I was on break, avoiding the crisis that would have set in had class started.
Preparing in advance also allows you to familiarize yourself with learning programs like Soapbox. You can explore them when the pressure is off, so that when you need them, you’ll be ready.
In some classes, you may be asked to interview someone in the field, observe a standard of practice or participate in a job-embedded activity. Knowing about this ahead of time allows you to make the needed arrangements with plenty of time.
In addition, take some time to organize your learning space. Clean up the journal articles from last term, selecting those you may need again and discarding those you no longer need. Recycle the five million sheets of scrap paper you used to complete your statistics homework.
Finally, never underestimate your power as a warrior. Aknowledge the hard work that’s ahead of you in the next few weeks, but go in knowing you have a plan in place to make this your best semester yet!