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Nov. 15, 2022

Week 12!

Congratulations! There are just a handful of days left this term! You are going to make it and you are doing awesome!

Priority Registration opened Monday. If you are eligible (enrolled as a degree seeking student), see your advisor and get signed up for spring classes. General Registration for non-degree seeking students opens Monday, Nov. 28. Make sure to make an appointment with your advisor and get registered now, before the chaos of end-of-term and final exams starts to come into full swing.

Speaking of finals, as I continue to count down the weeks toward the end of the semester, I am reminded of the classic children's book, ‘The Monster at the End of This Book.’ In the book, the reader is implored by the main character, Sesame Street’s Grover, to beware of the monster at the end. As it turns out, the ‘monster’ is nothing more than the loveable, furry, Grover.

Throughout this term, I suspect most of you have had slowly growing anxiety over the monster at the end. Let’s talk about that and about getting ready for finals.

You are likely a veteran of final exams from previous experiences. How did those go? Do you have successful strategies that you’ve used in the past? If so – great! If you haven’t ever thought about putting together a plan, now is the time to start thinking about one. If your previous strategy has consisted of waiting until the last minute in a state of denial and stress and then cramming as much as possible the night before, be kind to yourself. Start now to implement a better plan. Even if you’ve done well in the past, it is never too late to make some improvements.

Here are some simple steps:

  1. Make a calendar for the next few weeks.

  2. Find out when your finals are going to be. Here’s the schedule. If you’re not clear after looking at the schedule, ask your instructor. Put the times and dates of your exams on the calendar.

  3. Block out some time each day, starting now, to start reviewing for those exams. I know it is hard to add things to your schedule, but take a hard look and be honest with yourself. Don’t forget that you have a good break late next week.

  4. Invest time in preparing for your exams. It sounds simple. There is no substitute. Do it.

  5. Prioritize your efforts. Start with the material you know is going to be on the exams. If you’re not sure, talk with friends, go through your notes, look at unit and lecture topics.  Consider what the main point of each is and start there.

  6. Find some friends and schedule a study group. Work together to make the time efficient and effective. Have fun. Share some good food and connect the food to your studies.

  7. Be careful of distractions. Don’t try to attend that dinner, dance, event, or party the night before a final.

  8. Treat yourself like an athlete preparing for an important event.

  9. Train, focus, prepare.

  10. Relax. You got this!

Here is another great resource, the Princeton Review: How to Study for Finals online guide. Check it out. Work on your plan. Talk about your finals strategy with your friends and family. There’s plenty of time to celebrate the end of the fall semester after finals are over. The more you prepare for exams, the less stressful they will be. With enough preparation, you can turn the much-feared monster into a comfy old friend.

Lastly, take care of yourself. This can be a stressful time of year. In Alaska, November and December are the months of descending darkness and cold. The holidays bring a whole new layer of stress with social and family expectations and obligations. Take a moment to enjoy the simple things. Food with friends, shopping for family, a favorite TV show, or a beautiful snowy evening. Finals are important, but they aren’t the only thing in life. You and your health are most important.

The end of the semester is nearly here. Hang in there. Take care of yourself. You’ve got this!

As ever – please send me your comments and suggestions. I am at obguthrie@alaska.edu.

— Owen Guthrie, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management


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