Relax & Reflect: Finishing Up the Fall Semester

Hi, prospective and current Warner students! It’s that time of year again: I’ve finished another semester! This one, however, is a bit different, because I’m technically done with all formal classes for my program. In the spring, I’ll have my thesis seminar with my advisor, TA, and cohort, but other than that, I’m almost to the end! It has been a whirlwind of a year: from intense research projects, to papers on fascinating topics about which I may not have been interested if it hadn’t been for the assignment, to developing amazing rapport with my classmates and professors, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Now that I’m a few days into my winter break, here are some tips for finishing up a tough semester strong:

  1. Take some time off! I know how tempting it is to look at your grades right away, or to respond to emails at the drop of a hat, but stretching out your semester can lead to burnout. Try to take a few mental health days to relax and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
  2. Once you’ve done that, start looking ahead! Next semester, my foci will be composing a well-rendered thesis and applying for full-time positions. I’ve started making a list of potential thesis topics, and I want to narrow them down so that my paper will be more nuanced. I want my findings to be relevant to today’s educational issues, and also accessible for students at a variety of professional levels. I’ve also subscribed to job listings from higher education consortium websites in order to figure out exactly which environments would be the best fit for my skills and interests.
  3. Organize your previous work. What were your favorite projects from the past semester? What did you find to be the most useful to your current position as a student or full-time professional? The least useful? Organize any sources you’ve printed out, previous papers, tests, etc. into what you think you’ll need for the future. Since we’re at the graduate level, most of your work is going to be important to your future positions, but try to prioritize it when you have some extra time.
  4. Reconnect with coworkers, family, friends, and fellow students! This one is perhaps the most important. Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle that is getting a master’s or doctoral degree in addition to working. Take some time to show the people in your life how much they mean to you, whether that means turning off your phone and really focusing on what they might need from you, surprising them with a visit or a gift, or simply being there when they need to talk. The holidays are a perfect time to relax with those who have been supportive of you throughout your program, so make sure to return the favor!

If you’ve just finished up the semester as well, congratulations, and have a wonderful holiday season! Until next year, Meliora! 

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