As the semester wraps up we start to think about grading, making resolutions for next semester, preparing for the Holidays, fitting in the get togethers, the recitals, and the shopping….the list could go on.
As staff and faculty in higher education we have a perpetual list of responsibilities. It’s easy to get mired down in lists, or to just avoid them all together (often accomplished through extended periods of time on FB or Pinterest or watching TV).
If you google “End of the Semester Faculty Checklist” you will find detailed outlines of how to neatly wrap up your semester course with 1,2,3’s and checkboxes. But let’s get real people we’ve all read these lists and while they are highly valuable they are missing something – something really important – something we tend to make great aspirations about at the beginning of the semester but perpetually and inevitably IGNORE – taking care of ourselves.
Nowhere on those lists is there a checkbox that says “Take a 30 minute walk outside” or “Do five minutes of deep breathing three times per day”!
So without further ado here is my proposed end of the semester checklist:
1. Take time to examine your accomplishments this semester
So often as the semester winds down we reflect on the looming to do list in the future, or lament look back at the things we failed to achieve this time around. Fight off that urge and let yourself spend some time focusing on the silver lining. What did you achieve this semester? What accomplishments did you, your students, & your department have?
2. Remember what you do does matter
Earlier in the semester new faculty member Aaron Weinschenk wrote a blog post focused on making the point that what you do matters and he is right! The impact that your teaching, your research, your guidance and mentorship have right now on students is shaping the future of our city, our country, and the world. That’s something pretty amazing to be a part of.
3. Take a moment to encourage another co-worker
We all have those co-workers who seem to have it all together, always turning things in early, coming up with ingenious ideas, and basically are just awesomeness! Well take time to let them know this! Or maybe you’ve noticed the colleague who just doesn’t seem themselves. Encouragement goes a long way – and its reciprocal – they feel good, you feel good, and it’s all good!
4. Keep it real
As you move forward and start making your list of things to do for next semester – keep it real! Reach for the stars – motivation and ambition are critical in accomplishing our goals but don’t forget to leave room in that to do list for sick kids, subcommittee meetings, grading papers, and doing life.
5. Do something for you
Don’t tell me you don’t have time – you are with you 24 hours a day – that’s plenty of time to do something for you. Maybe it’s simple like drinking plenty of water and a little less latte, maybe it’s spending 10 more minutes with your kids, or maybe it is the luxurious hour at the spa. Whatever it is, do it because you deserve it – and because when you do things for you – you’re just a better you and that’s better for everybody!
Ashley Damp, MSW
CATL Program Assistant
UWGB Alumna ’09