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’Tis the Season to Finish Strong

Woman working on laptop while wrapping presents

It’s hard to focus on class when the holidays are coming up, but these tips can help you wrap your semester up beautifully.

’Tis the season to be jolly. But ’tis also the season to study hard, push yourself to new highs and ace those final exams and projects you’ve been working toward for months. And that’s what makes the holidays so challenging for students. For the next few weeks, a thick slice of pumpkin pie and a cozy nap on the couch will be pulling you in one direction while a hundred pages of reading and a project team meeting will be pulling you in the other.

Don’t worry. You’re going to stay focused and nail this. In the next couple of weeks, all the hard work you’ve put in over the last few months is going to pay off. You’re going to be fully prepared for the end of the semester. And on top of that, you’re going to have great holidays. 

We see thousands of students do it every year. Here’s how they pull it off:

Let Visions of Academic Success Dance in Your Head

The first step is to get in the right frame of mind. Finishing the semester strong while balancing all the temptations and pressures that come with the holidays is going to be difficult. Take some time – a few hours, or a day – to relax, clear your mind and visualize success.

It’s easy to get tripped up because you think that you have to choose between doing the holidays and doing your coursework. But you don’t have to make that choice at all.

In fact, it’s just the opposite. Great holidays and a great end to the semester go hand in hand. You’ll be able to enjoy your turkey and sides even more than usual because you won’t have anything hanging over your head: You’ll know that you did your absolute best and really accomplished something in school. And knowing that you have a fun, relaxing few weeks of family and festivities coming up will give you that extra push to focus on finals for just a few more hours.

Not to go all Elf on you, but a successful semester is the gift that keeps on giving.


Make a Schedule, Check It Twice

A key part of academic success is making detailed lists and schedules of the work you have to do and then sticking to them. They help keep you focused and moving forward. Lists and schedules are even more important during the holidays, when there are more distractions than usual.

Make sure to schedule everything.

A schedule only works when it includes everything you have to do. So when you make your game plan for this last month of school, don’t just include the time you need to study, finish projects and go to class. Think about how much time you will need to do all your holiday stuff and put that on the schedule as well.

Give yourself the time you need to do a good job researching class material and the time you need to do your online gift shopping. When you can see everything you need to do in one, neat schedule, you’ll be able to do it in a calm, orderly way and not feel like you’re always forgetting something or running out of time. 

Which brings us to our next point: Make sure you give yourself deadlines.

No one wants to think about deadlines at the holidays. But if it weren’t for deadlines, Santa would still be delivering presents in February. As you put together your schedule for November and December, make sure you know when things are due. Knowing that you’re going to do all your homework by the end of Saturday and all your holiday baking by the end of Sunday will help make you more efficient. 

The more efficient you are with your schoolwork and holiday chores, the more time you’ll have to relax when they’re all complete.

Let People Know When You’ll Be Ready to Celebrate 

The best part of the holidays is getting together with family and friends for safe, socially distanced gatherings. But when you’re a student with limited time, that can also be a tricky part. Your mom’s going to be calling and insisting you join the family video call with your cousins. But your homework is going to be calling you at the same time.

Let your friends and family know what your end-of-semester looks like before they start sending you invites. Tell them you’re studying hard on Friday but will be free starting Saturday afternoon. This way, you get all the focus, all the festivities and none of the fomo. 

The Best Gift of All 

With everything you have going on at the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. The fact is that if you’ve made it this far in the semester, you’re on track to complete your program and start a rewarding career. Stay focused. Finish the semester strong. Getting your degree will make your holiday seasons brighter for years to come.



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