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Nov. 29, 2022

Keep the pace!

We are down to one week and just a handful of days before finals! The finish line is in sight! Hopefully, you recharged over the long weekend. It is important to keep the pace in order to capitalize on your efforts up to this point and finish strong. You can do it and a successful finish will make the Winter break even more rewarding.

In these messages, I have sometimes used the analogy of long-distance running or endurance sports for your journey. The marathon is a 26-mile race. You will sometimes hear new runners say they were on pace to do amazingly well, but then at mile 20, something happened. Experienced runners, on the other hand, will say the marathon comes down to the last six miles. Their training focuses on how to maintain a strong pace for the push to the finish. It is the same with the 15-week academic semester. Only the semester is longer and requires more consistent discipline and more endurance of the athlete. Everything you’ve done so far has been an investment in this final stretch. Stay the course! Keep the pace!

Stick to your successful habits. Put the time in; there is no shortcut. Don’t lose focus. Higher education semesters aren’t structured into 15-week units because they are the natural length of time for learning or an easy duration for us to stay engaged and organized. They are built this way because they require sustained focus and persistent effort. The higher education calendar is built this way to challenge you. 

Earning your four-year degree demonstrates your ability to rise repeatedly to this challenge. On the way to finishing your degree, you will overcome six, eight or even more semesters in your tour of higher education. Each time, you’ll get stronger and more practiced. You are building stamina and pacing skills. You’re doing it! 

Three things:

  1. Have you registered yet?! If not, registration is open for all students as of Monday. If you have questions or need some help, we have you covered. We are kicking off Registration Week at the Wood Center this Saturday. There are virtual sessions, prizes, and exclusive gear for those who register before Dec. 10. Check out the link and get it done!

  2. Finals. They begin Monday, Dec. 12. Don’t stress. Instead, put together a plan.

  3. Find time to de-stress and take care of yourself. Breathe. Enjoy Alaska. The next two days are forecast to have amazing aurora. Check them out for a mental break from your studies. Later this week we are forecast to get some snow. If you are close to the Troth Yeddha’ campus here in Fairbanks, go for a ski or an evening walk on the illuminated trails (walking trails are the green lines on this map). They start near the Akasofu building and the snow-covered trees are amazingly beautiful by the ski-trail lights.

Lastly, watch your pace. Make sure to balance your effort with future races in mind. Do your best in this race, but don’t exhaust yourself. Smile and wave at those cheering you on. Cheer on others around you. Make the most of week 14 and I’ll see you next week for week 15 and the last week of classes!

Fair is fair. Please don’t hesitate to send me your comments and suggestions. I am at obguthrie@alaska.edu

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


UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.