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Refresh Your Semester Plan and Stay Motivated

A student studying outside

With the end of the Spring semester in sight for many Penn students, we’ve been hearing from a lot of you that it is hard to keep motivation high. First, the good news…you’re almost there! 

Even though graduation and other end-of-year celebrations won’t be in person this year, that doesn’t make your achievements any less remarkable. Repeat after me…I am doing an amazing job at a really tough time. 

On the other hand, the semester is not over. We know the last mile of any race can be the hardest. As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will get through. You’ve got this.

When we are tired, burned out, and stressed, those steps turn into baby steps. And that’s okay. Pause for a minute, put both feet on the floor, and take three deep breaths. Next, take a moment to notice what’s around you. Is there a pile of papers or a collection of old coffee cups? Is your computer’s desktop cluttered with documents? Take a moment to organize your physical or digital learning space.

Once you are feeling a little more focused, it’s time to make a plan. Think about everything you need to get done by the end of the semester. During these times of transition, it can be helpful to make a little chart to keep track of how things are different. It feels good to have everything in one place. Yours could look something like this:

Now it’s time to take all of those larger assignments and break them into smaller pieces. Using a visual organizer tool like this one can be helpful. Don’t be afraid to break out the colored pens and pencils. You can find an electronic version of the planner along with some of our other favorite resources here.

“Focus on what you can control. Let go of what you cannot”

This is one of our favorite sayings, and it’s especially relevant right now. Anytime a thought pops up like “when will we return to normal,” or “I can’t study very well at home,” just say to yourself “can’t control,” and try to let it go. Going for walks and getting into a regular sleep routine also helps. Managing stress is a big part of productivity. If you’d like to check in about your stress or anxiety, CAPS is open for telehealth appointments.

Thinking about what you can control, what about…how you spend your days? You’ve broken down your big assignments. Now put them into your schedule. You can find our weekly planner here.

Remember, what worked for you before may not work now. Or, like going out to study, it might not be possible. You can do this. You are a living, breathing, human work in progress. Every day is a new day. Don’t forget: you’ve got this.

“Keep what’s working. Let go of what’s not. Adjust where you need to.”

Want to learn more about effective planning and preparation? Register for our upcoming virtual workshop, Succeeding with Final Exams, Papers, & Projects at Home:

Image of flyer for Succeeding with Final Exams, Papers, and Projects at Home virtual workshop

By Staff Writer: Jennifer Kobrin, Learning Fellow and current Ed.D. student in Reading/Writing/Literacy at PennGSE

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