That phrase comes from an old Dunkin' Donuts commercial. This hard-working man would get up at the crack of dawn every morning and reluctantly get ready for his job at Dunkin'. However, once there, he enjoyed being able to serve the customers. Returning to college for spring semester brings with it a variety of feelings, kinda like the Dunkin' man. Perhaps there’s hope because of the new year. There may be some excitement around reconnecting with classmates. You may even have a little hesitation because you are going back to class.
For some students, going back to class is downright stressful. Sometimes it’s because they thinking about how to recover from a bum GPA. Perhaps it’s because being home for the holidays creates an awareness about what type of environment they need to be successful.
This year in particular can be even more taxing. The added pressure of beginning spring semester in a pandemic has its own set of challenges. Whether learning remotely or going to campus for classes, the beginning of spring semester carries more weight/anxiety. Students are doing their best to keep it together through virtual learning, social distancing, and the modified college experience. The athletic events, social outings, and large lectures of years past are no longer part of being a college student.
So how do you approach the start of a new year and new semester in the middle of a pandemic? Well, set your goals as you always do in the new year, then make the pandemic adjustments as you plan the details for achieving them. Knowing that some of your courses are in-person and others are virtual - synchronous (live) and some asynchronous - think through the action steps as they relate to each type.
Let’s take your GPA goal for example. Think through what you need to earn in each course and then break down the pieces of achieving that goal. For the most part, it will rely on your completion of the work, the methods and frequency with which you seek assistance, how much time you study, and how you study that will determine whether you achieve that goal. You may need to add in is additional time or work you found you need for virtual classes.
Spring semester of your freshman year is an opportunity for reflection. Look back at all your actions and behaviors then be realistic about what did and did not work. Commit to leaving behind those actions and habits that do not serve you. You also have to identify what behaviors you will adopt AND how you’ll keep moving forward if you feel frustrated, confused, or unmotivated. Knowing in advance how you’ll keep pushing and envisioning it can be very impactful. We are all human and at times we stall or run out of gas/motivation/energy. Knowing in advance what your options and actions are when those feelings kick in can make all the difference.
Lastly, at the top of your goals, write out your why. WHY do you want that GPA?WHY are you seeking an internship? Why do all of these things and potential achievements matter to you? Let the big WHY guide you and be your north start. So as you set and review your Spring 2021 plan before classes start, know WHY you’re doing all of this. Use your goals to create an action plan that corresponds to your time management plan . . . and make them donuts!