You hear a lot about finishing strong in sports; the season, the race, the game. (Some football players have even taken to shaving this message onto their heads.) The most notable demonstration of failing to finish strong is sprinter Usain Bolt’s notorious early celebrations: He routinely celebrates in advance of crossing the finish line, most famously at the 2012 Beijing Olympics. Now, if this was a fable, a slower, more steadfast runner would have caught him off guard and passed him. But, come on, we’re talking the Fastest Man on Earth. But…if you look at it from a ‘personal best’ perspective, Bolt has blown countless opportunities to blast his own record. Lab coat-types have analyzed his 2012 performance and have determined that he could have crushed his past times if he hadn’t started flailing around prematurely. By losing focus and finishing sloppy, he didn`t perform to the best of his abilities.
We don’t want that happening to you, so here are some tips to finishing strong this school year!
Recognize everything you`ve accomplished so far:
You’ve worked hard and covered a lot of new material this year– acknowledge it! Don’t let it overwhelm you, let it motivate you. You´ve come this far – you have the ability, skill and past record that demonstrates you can finish strong!
Take care of yourself: physically, mentally and emotionally:
The big push at the end requires energy. So make sure you’re eating right, sleeping enough and taking breaks. If you need advice or assistance, or you’re not feeling well, don’t hesitate to visit the counselling department or health services on campus – that’s what they are there for!
It’s never too late to tweak your study strategies:
Having a hard time retaining information? Or, do you seem to be putting in more hours than your friends? Change your routine: If, in the past, you’ve retreated to a quiet corner to write out notes and it’s no longer working for you, then try a study group. Or simply change study locations – try the library or a quiet coffee shop in your neighbourhood. Mix it up. If it’s more serious than that, academic services can help!
Don’t expect perfection! All or nothing thinking will hinder your success!
Try your hardest, but be gentle with yourself. Many people take pride in the label of perfectionist, but, as Dr. Brené Brown says, perfectionism is not a positive trait: "What emerged for me in the data is that perfectionism is not about striving for excellence or healthy striving. It's… a way of thinking and feeling that says this: 'If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.'"
It is hard work maintaining energy and enthusiasm for a project (or school year) near the end of its completion. Many things are competing for your attention (better weather, summer job or internship). But if you maintain your focus, and follow these tips, you can make it to the finish line!