I want so much more for you

It’s the last day of classes! You’ve got exams, and then break. Well done. However, the most important learning of the semester hasn’t happened yet. Whether you aced it, scraped by, or failed, I want so much more for you than “I tried hard.”

  • “I tried hard” takes away your power. It’s a myth you tell yourself, suggesting that your performance was limited by external factors.
  • “I tried hard” is an excuse. It’s a way of letting yourself off the hook for a result that you don’t like.
  • “I tried hard” focuses your attention on the results, rather than the process. It’s so vague that it values perspiration over performance.

Winners focus on the process, not the results

The most important thing you can do before you pack up and head home for break is reflect. Sit down for a half hour and write about your experience. Better yet, record a video of yourself talking about it. Here’s what you should focus on:

  1. How did you spend your time this semester? Estimate how much time went to the various categories in your life (class, study, work, social, leisure…).
  2. Are there areas that deserved more or less time?
  3. What did you actually do when you sat down to do schoolwork? Did you read the text book before working a homework problem? Did you make outlines? Search the web for solutions or forums?
  4. What parts of your learning process worked, and which didn’t?

And now the key: write down a plan for next semester.

If you start with the play-by-play of what you did this semester, you can usually spot the weak point in the system without much trouble. Edit that part. Next semester, use this as a checklist for action.

Congrats on making it this far! Spend a few minutes reflecting on the process that got you here, make some edits, and then crush your exams! Break is coming soon…

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