Annette is shown in three poses on aerial silks.

Taking stock of the semester: what is there to celebrate?

If you’re as prone to self-deprecation as I am, the end of the term may inspire some troublesome realizations and painfully remind you of all the goals you set in September. As the year winds down but exams wind way, way up, it’s hard not to take stock of the past few months – if only to procrastinate. It’s really easy to identify the goals we didn’t realize and the plans we didn’t follow through with, and the associated negativity is not something any of us needs right now. So, I’m looking back and while I can’t ignore my “areas for improvement” I am sandwiching my criticisms of myself with silent celebrations of all the things I did well and accomplished.
Annette is shown in three poses on aerial silks.
As well as some flashy, Instagram'ed celebrations.
Coming into the semester I anticipated a real challenge between fourth-year courses, the LSAT and my law school application. Nonetheless, I planned to weightlift regularly, train in Jiu Jitsu, train in aerial silks AND skate once a week – while working three jobs. In case it isn’t obvious, that may have been a slightly unrealistic game plan. As I mentioned in an earlier post, prioritizing was definitely necessary this term and as such, sometimes I had no choice but to miss training and hit the books. Weightlifting regularly? Forget it! I did, however, develop my skills on the silks, continue my Jiu Jitsu journey and greatly increased my ice-skating prowess. I also submitted by law application and kicked butt on the LSAT.
An e-mail from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law confirming receipt of Annette's application.
I think the whole law school endeavor alone is sufficient as far as accomplishments go. Phew! Glad that’s over.
So, while I could have done a thing or two better, and while I really wish I had had enough time to train regularly and test for my light blue belt this semester, I think I can be proud of what I accomplished. How about you? Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and on that note, I’ll be keeping a couple of things in mind as I begin my next and final term of my undergraduate degree in January: “Under-promise and over-deliver” is one of a few golden rules which applies to me in my work as a tour director, and I think it’s time I apply it to my academic life. Next semester, I intend to make SMART goals and set realistic expectations so that I don’t have the opportunity to disappoint myself but rather the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. For me and my active lifestyle, this means looking at my course schedule and creating a training schedule that I can regularly stick to. I had to miss a lot of training this term and that meant a lot of feeling guilty. I’m going to do my best to avoid that next term while continuing to do the things I enjoy.
A representation of the SMART goal setting system. The graphic asks whether the goal is specific, whether it's measurable, whether you have an action plan, whether it's realistic and whether there's a time limit.
Drop-in programs are a fantastic way – as I recently learned – to fit a bit of physical activity into my day when a two-hour training session is too much time to take out of it or otherwise doesn’t work. I’ll be keeping the class schedules handy (can’t wait for more kickboxing!) and may see if I can fit a pair of runners and some athletic wear in my backpack to facilitate such spontaneous fitness breaks. Nutrition is not open to discussion. I learned this the hard way this semester when I tried to cut corners and save money only to end up ill. The fuel we feed our bodies is so, so important and a simple way to support our own success throughout the day and throughout the year. I’ll be trying to be more mindful of that, and testing out some recipes over the break!
A text overlay on top of an image of a plate of food reads "Fuel good. Feel good."
Has your semester measured up to your expectations? What can you celebrate? What will you work on next semester?

1 comment on “Taking stock of the semester: what is there to celebrate?

  1. I have had high expectations from myself when it came to my marks, however I did put much thought into extracurricular activities, that now I realize I should have considered joining more.
    I’m glad that I ended up doing okay in my grades. I definitely could have done much better, but with the terrible daily schedule I had planned for myself before, I’m surprised with how well it settled into.
    My plan for the future is to learn to get better prepared for day to day as well as set better goals for myself.
    I feel as if I have learned from my past experience as a student, and would overall hope that I can continue to develop in my ability and become easily accustomed to a university life style.

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