We are thirteen weeks into the school year, and there are only three and a half left. Final papers, final projects, and final exams are in the works or coming up. Thanksgiving break is next week, giving us the chance to wind down before the final countdown, the last push, the end of the rope. With the winter break giving us that month of freedom after finals, time is dwindling in a way that may seem directly proportional to the falling of the leaves. This, of course, will mean different things to different people.
As a fellow student and as one of your Off-Campus Student Advisors, I personally never know how to feel towards the end of the fall semester; it is a combination of so many emotions. The school year is not nearly over yet, but the calendar year is almost there. So many people want Thanksgiving break to get here, or just want the semester to be done already. Others prepare themselves for this last stretch of time, as if they are ready to mourn. Either way, unless you are graduating, we still have the Spring 2014 semester. But that one month of a break can be somewhat daunting for those who rely on George Mason for social connections, their jobs, or even just a place to go. The daily and weekly routines we both love and stress over are coming to an end.
Here is some advice for everyone, regardless of whether or not you are graduating in a few weeks: this stress is normal, and is a part of every student’s life. Don’t hold it all in! Own the stress, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Use it to your advantage to make every last fleeting moment count. Find the chance to treat yourself to moments of relaxation, but once you are refreshed and able to dedicate the time, get yourself into the mindset of the final push to get your work done! Even if it is just studying or goal-setting, you can still be productive!
Here are a few final tips for you:
• Facebook is still going to be there at the end of the day. Putting away social media can increase productivity and output! Many swear that unplugging once in a while is also a good way to de-stress.
• Know your limits. Many of us have been guilty of pulling all-nighters, but don’t push yourself too hard! Also, if you are planning an extended homework/study session, make sure you take breaks.
• Though you may feel like burning your final papers, remember to save or store them in a place you will remember. They may be handy for future assignments, but depending on how you proud you are of them, you might want to get them published somewhere!
• Remember your professors and other educational or professional connections as well as your social ones. It is important to have friends to talk to over the break, but don’t forget about your professors. Who knows what you might need them for down the road?
The school year should end with a bang, not a fizzle. Good luck, and make the most of each and every day, this semester and beyond!
– Geoffrey Payne, Off-Campus Advisor