It’s that time of year again in academia. The year is wrapping up and finals are around the corner. The students are getting excited about a longer break and a period of time without homework or assigned readings. Some of them have even decided to take a look at their grades that have been available to them twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week since the beginning of the semester. Some of them have also, upon recommendation, decided to look at that pesky syllabus I drone on about frequently. I can hear it all around me: the end of the semester is at hand.
From the groanings of other instructors to the rapidly filling library seats, the signs are all around and they all point to a temporary break in the action. More often than not this is the time of the semester when, if you ask a teacher for any stories, they’ll tell you of a student who just asked if they could turn in a semester’s worth of homework by the end of finals because they didn’t know they had to do it. They’ll tell you of a student who introduced himself just that morning and wanted you to know that they really care about the class they hadn’t yet attended. These are the stories of the time of year.
Now I don’t tell you these stories about stories to frighten you, dear students. I tell you because the end of the semester is a time for asking. If you’ve fallen behind you should ask if there is a way out. You should ask if there is something you can do. You should ask. This does not mean that you will receive. You shouldn’t expect to receive. You may not receive. However, asking is important. This demonstrates a step in the right direction. At worst you’ll work harder next semester and at best you’ll find a way out. Whatever your current status it is important to finish the semester at your best. Good luck in the coming weeks!