Good Luck With Finals, T-Birds

Posted: December 11, 2020 | Author: President Scott L Wyatt | Read Time: 4 minutes

Good luck with final examsDear Students,

I was thinking about all of you—preparing for finals and completing papers and projects—this morning as I went for my daily run. I usually don’t run with music. I like quiet—to clear my mind and think. Well, let me tell you about my morning and what I was thinking, as it relates to you.

My alarm sounded at 5 a.m. I turned it off and rolled my almost-60-year-old body out of bed. As I made my way down the hall, I opened my weather app and considered what combination of running clothes I needed to keep myself warm, but not too warm. If I put on sufficient layers to feel good when I first step outside and start running I know I will be overheating in less than a mile. So, in order to be comfortable along a 90-minute run I have to be uncomfortable for the first three or four minutes.

I adjusted my headlamp and stepped outside into the cold dark with a brief shiver. As I ran slowly down the street, the soreness in my muscles and the coldness of the winter morning gave way. My eyes adapted to the darkness of the night. And I started to feel good. I felt good because I was not pushing myself too hard and yet I was doing something that was difficult for me. At the end of my run, as I rounded the corner and approached home, I felt warm and had an incredible feeling of satisfaction. Doing any hard thing builds confidence for other difficult tasks I know will come my way later in the day. As the saying goes, “Success breeds further success.”

I couldn’t help this morning but compare all kinds of hard things to running—like learning a new language, developing a talent, doing homework, and finals. As you work this weekend in preparation for your final exams and complete assigned papers and projects, please remember two things. First, getting started is usually the most difficult and uncomfortable part of any project—the first three or four minutes. And second, nothing feels better than sticking with a task until it is completed. Don’t deny yourself of that feeling by quitting too early.

How do we talk ourselves into getting started if we don’t want to? Running: well, I usually don’t want to go running. So, I don’t think about it. I just go through the motions to get ready. I put on my running clothes, eat a snack, get a drink, follow a pattern, and eventually I find myself outside. It’s cold, so I start running to warm up. I work from easy and don’t think about hard. Eventually, the hard becomes easy with momentum and the force of habit. Homework: if you don’t want to study—don’t think about it. Just go through the motions to get ready to study. Put on comfortable study clothes, grab some snacks, fill up your water bottle, get your books, follow a pattern, and make your way to a place you associate with studying—let momentum carry you through. Work from easy to hard.

How do we keep going once we’ve started? Running: I usually don’t think about how long or hard the run will be. That can cause me to feel overwhelmed and tired before I even get going. I just think about starting an easy run. I trick my mind into assuming I’ll just go a little ways, and then, as Robert Frost wrote, “way leads on to way.” Homework: just keep going a little bit at a time and it will all add up. Let momentum carry you through. Visualize how good you will feel when you’re done.

This has been a marathon of a year. 2020 is almost behind us. The challenges of the pandemic will not disappear with the change of the calendar to 2021. But, we are most of the way through. Congratulations for making it this far. Consider how much you have been able to do, albeit less than perfectly, and take confidence from where you are to keep moving forward. If you need help please reach out to someone. Remember, we are all in this together and we are all moving forward.

If you get a minute, send a thank you email note to the faculty members and support staff who helped you get through this year. It’s been a challenge for them as well.

I can’t wait to see you all back next year. Soon, we will be able to share smiles and handshakes and hugs. And “somewhere ages and ages hence” you will tell your grandchildren how strong you were during the Great Pandemic back in the year 2020! And it will inspire them.

Good luck with finals. We are all cheering for you!


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