Plan For A Strong Finish

Hey, know what? It’s almost the end of the school year.

Okay, I can hear you out there, thinking to yourself “That’s bananas! It’s February! It’s so cold and snowy and we’re nowhere near the end of the school year because we might have drifted into Narnia at this point and it’s going to be winter forever.” 

Yup, I get it. It’s definitely still winter. But while it might feel remote now, spring is right around the corner. Blue skies! Birds singing! Hurrah! As soon it stops snowing, though, a blizzard of another kind might be on the horizon. Not snow, though, this is a whirling storm of A.P. tests and papers and projects and finals and…okay, you get the picture. 

While it might seem counterintuitive while we have a thick blanket of snow outside, now is the best time to think about the end of the school year. You’ve got time to look at the big picture, the bird’s eye view of the end of the year. Now’s a perfect time to start making a map to get you through the last (and often, busiest) months of the school year. 

Now, you don’t need to draw an actual map (though if you do, please send a copy, we’d really love to see it). All you really need to do is walk yourself through all the things that stand between you and the finish line. Those things could be coursework, like tests or projects, A.P. or I.B. exams, extracurricular activities, anything that’s on the horizon, even if it feels far away right now. It could be a list, a calendar, a planner spread – just pick something that works for you.

Don’t worry too much about getting all the details right. If you know, for example, that your English class will have some sort of final paper, but you don’t know the topic, just note down that you’ll have a paper. If you have a final project for your art class, you don’t need to know exactly what you’re painting or how long it will take, just make sure that it’s on your map. Don’t be afraid of some uncharted territory here, this map is a work in progress. 

Now, let’s start sketching the boundaries. Any fixed dates? Last day of school? Finals days? A.P. Calc test? Those belong on the map. Then you can start filling in the details that you have now. Do you know you’re going to want to have a weekly study session for A.P. World History? Will you need to read a novel to write your final English paper? Those should go on the map too. The best thing about making the map right now is that you’ve got time, you’re not behind or scrambling.You can set your own schedule.

It’s also a great time to write down all the things you’re not sure of. Maybe you know you’ll need to talk with a teacher about a research topic sometime in April. Or maybe you’re sure that there’ll be some sort of math final, but you don’t know what form that will take. Keeping track of those “unknowns” helps prevent any unpleasant surprises when they come up later. You can always add them into your map as you go.

Before you finish up your map, don’t forget to note down the supplies you need to pack. I’m not talking about a compass and your favorite trail-mix here, I mean all the things you need to get yourself from here to the end of the year. Will you need to order some books from a library for research? Or download articles? Collect materials for your collage final in art? Need a new ACT prep book? Make sure that you’ve got a plan for getting the things you need in advance, especially now that it can be tougher to make a spontaneous trip to the library or bookstore.

Last, spend a little time thinking about how you’d like to feel as spring arrives and the year winds down. Think specifically – for instance, maybe you know you want to feel relaxed and confident during your finals week, ready for your tests and not nervous. Or that you hate how tired you feel when you stay up late studying, so you want to get some sleep and wake up well-rested. Thinking about how you want to feel can give you the motivation you need to stay connected to the map you’re making. You’re not keeping up with your map just because it’s a good idea, you’re keeping up with it because you want to get plenty of sleep, or because you hate feeling frantic before a test. Connecting to why you’re making plans is just as important as the plans themself. 

Ready to chart some uncharted territory? You’ve got this. Just take it one step at a time, and be prepared to modify your route from time to time. You’ll have made it to the end of the school year in no time. 

Similar Posts