For many students, particularly students in international schools, the end of the fall term is here. For students in the Chinese system, there is still more work to be done! Students are either preparing for or taking final semester exams or Mock exams. Just after that comes the Winter Holiday. It is a time filled with hard work, some anxiety, anticipation that it will all be over soon, and finally a break for several weeks.
It is important to stress that performance on in-school exams are not only a vital piece of a students’ academic record but also for a students’ application to schools and universities. Most exams are cumulative in nature and show a student’s ability to comprehensively attack information they have been learning all year. Whether a student is applying to boarding school or university, schools will review grades earned up to a certain point. It is these grades, which should show a mastery of their academic subjects. In other words, DO WELL! Always!!
Most students who are applying to schools are in the final stretches of the application process. For students applying to boarding schools, the process ends in early January. The same is true of university applicants. And while there may be the longing to be somewhere else, whether a beach in the South Pacific or already attending the one’s target school, focusing on the tasks at hand is imperative.
Some teenagers are masters of procrastination. “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow!” and “tomorrow” and so on. But here’s the thing, procrastination does not make that task go away, it only makes the “doing it” more anxiety filled. Studying for exams, completing the project that needs to be done, writing those application essays – it only gets harder as time passes. Guilt and anxiety rule the day, and trying to maintain high expectations in conjunction with negative feelings only leads to poor outcomes.
Those who succeed focus on their target, seek extra-help if needed, ask for guidance and direction, and ultimately win out in the end. But the average teenager hoping to prove their maturity will try to do everything on their own. If taken broadly, teamwork can apply to one’s education – such as by seeing one’s teachers not only as a coach, but also as a guide and a mentor. Teachers and classmates all make up a team whose aim is to help each individual win. Mavericks rarely win over the long haul.
Teachers throughout the course of the semester provide information and hope that students who are struggling will seek needed advice. Students may expect teachers to see their struggles and approach the student. The responsibility is on the student, not the teacher, to seek out help when needed. A teacher, like most humans, cannot read minds nor should they be expected to!
Many counselors may to get students to complete applications before the holidays and well before deadlines, however some students wait to work on applications and essays during this period. Thinking that the holidays are a time to attend to these major tasks. Without the guidance of adults, students will most likely not do as well as they could have had they planned ahead.
Even if the application process is a year or two down the road, make sure you, as the student, are seeking out all the help and guidance you need to succeed. Here is an important question – “What have you done today for that school you are dreaming about?” Have you worked on you vocabulary? Have you created something new? Have you prepared for all your exams? Have you written, reviewed and edited your essays? Dreams don’t just happen because you dream. They happen because you work for them, tirelessly!
So get to work!