Making resolutions for a new semester
by Asha Siad
With one semester worth of exams and papers completed and the start of a new one upon us, some students may look back contentedly on their fall academic results, while others may feel very regretful.
New Year’s resolutions for a fresh start can range from saving money to working out regularly and eating healthier. When it comes to making positive changes, students have a chance to aspire to some learning resolutions.
Late-night exam-cramming sessions, last-minute papers and lack of preparation for presentations are common habits some students want to get rid of to begin the new semester on a clean slate. But, like New Year’s resolutions, learning resolutions are often difficult to maintain.
Writing and learning strategist Amy Yoshida, with Student Learning Services at Mount Royal University, said that she often hears students say, “I will do better next time,” when it comes to the plans they make for future improvement.
“Most of the time I find that a lot of students get very down on themselves and think, ‘I didn’t do it well,’ and ‘I’m just not good at (studying)’ and the answer is, no, you can always get better,” Yoshida said.
She also said that in regards to making a learning resolution, it’s important to set realistic expectations and not to say if you did not do well last semester, you will be perfect in the next one, but to ask yourself, “how can I be just a bit better — not expecting to be perfect — but improving in lots of little ways.”
“I find that if they keep a very realistic expectation, (their marks) can be all As, as long as they’re not thinking it has to be perfect and, ‘if I slip up one day and don’t study like I said I would, then I’m done,’ ” Yoshida said.
Yoshida said it is comparable to a New Year’s resolution, in the sense that a lot of times people fail to follow through on the promises they make themselves. She added that when they do not do “it” every day — whether “it” is studying for a set amount of time, keeping an up-to-date agenda or actually reading textbooks — they think they have failed and do not even bother continuing.
“You can start fresh. You don’t have to say, ‘I failed,’ or, ‘I didn’t do what I said I would do this semester.’ OK: move on, start again, and that’s the beauty of it. You can,” Yoshida said.
“In the workshops and when I’m talking to students one-on–one, I say, ‘OK, so you didn’t do it for two weeks, so you have a choice: don’t do it anymore, don’t study or whatever it is, or say I’m going to study even though I’m behind, but I’m going to do it realistically,’ so that you can succeed at it,” Yoshida said.