November 2015 Edition

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End of the Semester Survival Guide

The fall case of midterm blues is upon us! Typically around this time in the semester, your student is overwhelmed and filled with anxiety from many midterm papers and exams. The end of the semester can be quite a stressful time, one that students often face by taking a cramming and sprinting approach.  Given how much work lies ahead and how hard your student has already worked, such a strategy may actually add stress.  Here are some tips to help get your student through the end of the semester and reduce pressure with more effectiveness.

Create a Game Plan.

Encourage your student to take inventory of the work they have to do and make a flexible game plan for how they will approach it. – Perhaps, they should sit down with a calendar and write out what has to be done & by what date
- Set priorities--sort tasks into "crucial," "important" and "can be let go if need be"
- Also, write out daily To-Do lists specifying the tasks they hope to complete (prioritized)
- If a task takes longer than expected (and some will) or if unexpected things happen (as they often do), don't spend time fretting--just adjust the game plan.

Initiate Task-Oriented Plan.

Once your student has made a plan, they should focus their mind on the tasks to accomplish each day rather than on all the work ahead of them, what their grades will be, or other future concerns. They shouldn’t focus too far ahead instead remember to focus on what is immediately in front of them.

Be Present.

Practice present mindfulness. Students should try to channel their full awareness into present experiences. If your student is reading a history chapter, they should focus on what they’re reading; if they are in class, they should focus on the content and what the professor is teaching, if they are studying, they should eliminate any distractions that will hinder their ability to concentrate.

Take Breaks.

Encourage your student to take several relaxation breaks each day. Encourage your student to stop what he/or she is doing, stretch and belly breathe for several breaths. Or listen to a favorite CD or playlist; take a quick walk, etc.

Finding Balance.

Students should still keep some balance in their social life. While time is short, they need some social contact to sustain their energy over a two-week period.

Students should also keep some balance in their work-to-fun ratio. Your student will probably not have time to relax and socialize as much as he or she might during other times in the year, but they should try to find a happy medium. Healthy friendships are key to eliminating stress.

Revisit expectations.

Monitor the expectations you and your student have set in the beginning of the academic year. Make sure you all have set them according to your values, needs and goals and not getting swept up in what others are doing. It is very important for your student to have your support even if they fall short of those expectations.

Stay Healthy.

It’s important to help your student to try to observe healthy life style behaviors even if they have to make some compromises during this period. They should get 8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation impedes your ability to learn and remember. Even though they may be scurrying all day, they should make time for meals and eat nutritious, sustaining foods.

Why Your Student Should Get Acquainted With Their Dean & Assistant Dean

Georgetown University has a variety of academic resources to support your student’s academic goals and endeavors. Among these resources, your student’s Dean and Assistant Dean, play an integral role and serve as your student’s front line of support. Deans and Assistant Deans are essentially academic advisors that assist the students with understanding their academic expectations during their time at Georgetown.

The role of the Dean and Assistant Dean extends beyond course and program scheduling. Deans and Assistant Deans can assist the student with virtually all aspects of the academic experience and provide information regarding campus resources as needed. Some of the specific responsibilities of your student’s Dean and Assistant Dean include but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with goal setting, personal growth and career development
  • Monitoring academic progress
  • Clarification of academic and institutional policies
  • Assistance with academic issues and personal concerns
  • Assistance with campus resource identification, utilization and financial matters

Students should get very acquainted with their deans and assistant deans. As your student registers for classes next semester, they should be asking key questions such as:

What are my general education requirements?

How do I create my four year academic plan?

How do I build my academic credentials outside the classroom?

Where should I go if I need a tutor or additional assistance in class?

Deans and Assistant Deans are vital to your student’s academic success at Georgetown. Forging and building relationships with them are very advantageous for your student.

Sending Your Student A Care Package

It’s almost the end of the year. Holidays are swiftly approaching. There’s nothing like sending a care package to let your student know that you are thinking of them.  We hope that you’re staying in touch often.  Sometimes, however, parents and family members need to make a bigger gesture.  Students love receiving care packages from home.  The thought truly counts, but receiving presents – even small tokens – really brightens a student’s day!

Care packages are a great gift at any time of the semester.  In fact, a package that is unexpected is often a double bonus. However, care packages may be especially appreciated at particular times. The beginning of the semester to kick start their success or as you near the end of the semester to help them finish strong. This might also be a good time to include a small item or two that the student might have forgotten to pack in the first place.  Other times when students especially appreciate a package can be those particularly stressful times of midterm and final exams.  Something that might make your student smile, and think about home, will be meaningful.  And if it contains food, it will be appreciated all the more!

If you are looking for a company to send a package for you, we recommend Pieces of There or check out our Pinterest for ideas to create your own.

Is Stress Glorified by Georgetown Students?

 Ray Gao COL’19

They say that hindsight is 20/20. As my time on the Hilltop began, I wanted to get as involved in campus life as possible. Unfortunately, when I reflect on my experience, I realize that I may have committed a little too much. I signed up for five classes, became a member of DC Reads, and joined a theater group. I soon realized that I had become part of a crowd. The student body at Georgetown constantly feels the need to be perfect. This pressure can manifest itself in many different ways. But thanks to my part in theater, I soon learned that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can even be positive.  

As a freshman, I quickly picked up on the fact that people here definitely try, consciously or not, to glorify stress. Should you find yourself having a genuinely relaxing and easy day, it’s easy to believe that something is off. Now that I have discovered the theater program at Georgetown, I can confidently say that those days of full relaxation are completely behind me.

I love theater. In fact, if you were to ask anyone who graduated from the same high school as I did, they would tell you that the theater is precisely where I spent most of my time outside of class. I am by no means a hotshot actor. I have discovered the precious and intricate elements of theater that lie backstage, and I intend on staying there, at least most of the time. I designed the lights for eight shows back in high school. So, I thought it was time to try something different at college. That is why I gladly accepted the offer to be assistant stage-manage for her in the fall production of War With the Newts in the Department of Performing Arts.

Naïve as I was, I entered the Georgetown theater department completely underestimating the amount of effort it would demand. From the lack of large posters and frenzied promotions, like those you see from big clubs on campus (The Corp, Blue & Gray… you name ‘em), I thought maybe theater at Georgetown was not such a big deal after all. In addition, the position assistant stage manager signaled to me that this job shouldn’t be a huge time commitment, and that it could not possibly be a complex role.

Well, I was wrong. With a 25-hour-per-week rehearsal schedule, Newts soon became a heavy load. But that did not stop me from loving this stressful endeavor. Theater at high school, although intense and spectacular in many of its own ways, was small in comparison to the scope of the project I am currently undertaking. I am honored to be working with some of the most brilliant and gifted people in an extremely challenging yet meaningful environment. Our director has a creative talent that is beyond the scope I would ever have encountered in high school. Thanks to the people involved, I have actually fallen in love with this show, and with theater again.

Before I started at Georgetown, I convinced myself that I should put theater aside and move on to trying new things. But I knew at a place like Georgetown, where opportunities are scarce I was not going to let the chance to work with the department slip by. Like I said, with opportunity comes responsibility, and in my case, a rather hefty one. Stress is unavoidable in this scenario. But I have gradually come to learn to appreciate the stress and this show I am working on. Who knows? Maybe someone I know will one day sail out of Georgetown and become the next Bradley Cooper.

Should you find yourself having a genuinely relaxing and easy day, it’s easy to believe that something is off.

Through actively pushing my limits daily, I have begun to appreciate my work in theater in new ways. Assistant Stage Manager, a position I initially dismissed and believed to be simple yet burdensome, has brought me to see the opposite. It led to me to learn that, although I have chosen to push myself in my freshman year, I ultimately am doing something I love. Georgetown has provided me with the opportunity to take on stress more introspectively and understand that I do not have to view theater as a stressor or something that is taking away from what little free time I have. Instead I have grown to see theater as a form of expression for my soul, as a place where I belong, and as an art I can appreciate. Theater is something that gives me time to simply get carried away and be immersed in a world of creativity and extension.

Against the business of our academic lives we all have here at Georgetown, it seems essential to me that we all find and retain something key to our identity, be it GU Democrats, GAAP, or even the juggling club! Should it ever become too stressful, try to see it in a different light. It may have taken me a while, but I have found my quintessence and a group of people I can genuinely connect with. I really appreciated what Dean Chester Gillis told me the other day when I went to his home for dinner. He said, and I’m quoting as accurately as I can: “The people you meet at Georgetown will be the people that dance at your wedding.” I am certain when I say that I have never intended on coming to Georgetown just for a degree. When I look back in the future, I wish I could say that I willingly put myself through the stressful months of theater, but I have met and befriended some of the most brilliant people.

Stress, for what it’s worth, is glorified here at Georgetown. But that should not prevent it from being a positive thing. Amidst all of the crazy classes and work I am doing, I just want to leave you with this: Sleep is for the dead. But sleep just enough, so you can go on enjoying the Hoya experience truly and meaningfully.