By PLA Amy
Need a New Year’s resolution? How about pledging to approach a new academic term with a fresh perspective? After December exams, you may have left Queen’s in a blaze of glory (maybe tossing your textbooks under your bed, throwing your laundry in a bag, and rushing to the train station arms up in victory, Rocky-style?). You probably put classes, midterms, and readings out of your mind, and instead focused on turkey, tinsel, or television marathons. Hey, everyone needs a break.
However, now that a new term is approaching, it’s time to get back into the game. What better way to do this than make some New Year’s resolutions, Back-To-School Edition? Let’s call them “New Term’s Resolutions.”
Get out a pad of paper, and plan some goals for this term. Try to make them a bit more realistic than your typical New Year’s ones (i.e. no ‘losing 60 pounds in 8 days’ or ‘climb Mount Everest in my orange pajamas without a harness’).
Here are some ideas to start you off:
1. This term, I want to try to keep a schedule and stick to it. Here’s one to try: http://www.bewell-dowell.org/schedule/.
2. This term, I want to try and interact more with my profs and speak up more in class. Visiting profs in office hours, preparing some discussion questions for seminars/tutorials, and taking notes on the weekly readings are a great start to this resolution.
3. This term, I want to make sure I properly de-stress during really intense academic times. I will make a study plan and allot time for my own personal mental and physical health, whether that be hitting the gym or having a nice dinner with friends.
4. This term, if I need help I will make sure I get it as soon as possible. Profs and TAs, Peer Learning Assistants, The Writing Centre, Peer Support Centre, and HCDS are some of the resources I can use.
5. This term, I will learn to say ‘no.’ As much as I want to go out every night, be a member of every club on campus, and befriend every student, I also know that moderation and prioritization will really help my studies.
6. This term, I will actually book Writing Centre appointments and Learning Strategies appointments – sooner is better than later.
7. This term, I will break my readings down into 2-3 hour chunks and take notes under bold headings. I will also try to review those readings before lecture, and once at the end of the week so they stay in my mind.
8. This term, I will try to attend as many lectures as possible.
9. This term, I will make a list of “do, defer, or dump” to prioritize my work and goals. Upcoming assignments, midterms, quizzes or pressing social obligations will go in the “do” column, longer-term goals will go in the “defer” column, and anything I can “dump” I will.
Now that you’ve made your New Term’s Resolutions, how do you stick to them? Start with one you can do right away: book appointments with Learning Strategists or at the Writing Centre, or create a schedule, and check these off your list. As for the rest, try out the new techniques like “do, defer, or dump” or breaking tasks into 2-3 hour chunks and see how they work for you.
As with any new term, you have the chance for a blank slate. Why not write it on something starting like this?
10. This term will be my best yet.