2014 is fast approaching! And, as always, the new year is the perfect time for a little self-reflection. We encourage you to find a moment in between exchanging gifts and spreading holiday cheer to consider your goals and aspirations (for both the immediate future and beyond). Of course, amidst this quiet contemplation, we recommend assessing your scholastic achievement to date. After all, the upcoming winter vacation presents the perfect opportunity to get your academic ducks in a row.
To begin, take out a piece of paper and write down all of your subjects. Then, go through each class individually and evaluate your current standing (we promise this is far less time consuming that it might sound). How have you fared on your tests thus far? Have you been completing your homework assignments? Do you participate regularly in class? Are there any concepts with which you’re struggling? Be thorough and honest with your assessment.
Of course, there’s no need to beat yourself up if you’re unhappy with your answers. Instead, look at this as a chance to adjust and fine tune your approach. If you’re racing through your work and submitting shoddy assignments, think about sitting down a tad earlier and spending an additional thirty minutes or so on your homework. A little extra effort can sometimes make all the difference. Conversely, if you do feel like you are working diligently, consider talking to your teacher and asking for advice. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help every now and again.
Beyond a simple assessment, you should also use this time to figure out if you have any tests or assignments on the horizon. While you certainly don’t need to complete them over winter break, you might want to get the ball rolling with a little prep and/or planning. Since you’ll be on vacation, you can work at a more relaxed pace. More importantly, when you finally begin to tackle the assignments in earnest, you’ll happily discover that the work feels more manageable. And you’ll likely be able to produce a stronger final product.
Further, don’t forget that when it comes to successful study habits, sleep is an important factor as well. After all, a good night’s sleep facilitates focus. Going to bed at a reasonable hour will allow you to be more engaged in the classroom, work more efficiently and make fewer careless errors. You can use the winter break to catch up on sleep and set a new (and perhaps improved) sleep schedule.
Finally, though the above paragraphs might suggest otherwise, we do recommend kicking back and enjoying the holidays and the (all too brief) respite from the daily grind. Indeed, it’s easy to burn out if you’re continually focused on academics. Everyone needs to put the books away occasionally and recharge. When school resumes, you’ll (hopefully) realize that you have a renewed focus.
Happy holidays and best wishes for a fun, successful 2014!