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“Que Sera Sera”: Surviving Spring Semester?

April 1, 2019

It is often said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. After over twelve years in higher education, I’ve come to realize that the spring semester as a whole is very much a lion in contrast with the latter part of the fall semester.

While the fall semester frequently gets off to a slow start with new students and faculty, by the time midterms have wrapped, there’s only a small break for Thanksgiving before final exams. The spring semester, however, seems to always be a whole different kind of animal. We start back in late January, after a lengthy holiday semester break, just in time to have the month of February sprinkled with snow delays and closures, to be continued often through March as well. Throw in flu season, spring break, and by the time everyone has regained a sense of normalcy, it’s time for Easter break (especially for those of us at institutions with a religious component) before we ever hit the home stretch of final exams and graduation. 

Does anyone else sense this disconnect with the spring semester as a whole? How do you combat it? How do you overcome and create a sense of “normalcy” for yourself, staff, faculty, and more importantly, the students? How do you stay motivated?

Ask any cadet on our campus and they can tell you exactly how many academic days are left on the calendar before graduation! Do we embrace their countdown, and have one posted in the library? Turn it into an advent calendar of sorts?

Do we take everything one day, and one event at a time? Simply clicking off items as if they’re grocery items on a shopping list can leave us feeling empty, unsatisfied, or simply wondering what we’ve forgotten.

Is there a magic formula? Or is it simply a matter of “que sera sera” (whatever will be will be)?

I’ve always been one to say that the Beatles are wiser than Idina Menzel, and to “let it be” rather than “let it go”. The best we can do is guide our students through to the finish line and graduation, perhaps providing quick brain-breaks along the way.

We’re already planning our extended hours coverage for final exams, even though we haven’t yet celebrated National Library Week, and we’ve teamed up with Campus Activities for “stress busters” during finals as well.

So – ask me how many days til the therapy pets arrive, and I can tell you it’s 43 calendar days! Ask me what’s on the agenda for the next week, and I honestly don’t know! 

 

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