There’s nothing quite as satisfying as walking out of a classroom when you’ve finished the final exam. After all those weeks of studying, putting together projects, and sacrificing personal time, you’ve learned a great deal and finished the class – and with the holidays coming up, this is the perfect time to kick back, catch up with friends, or get to that DVD you’ve been wanting to watch for the last couple of months.
The end of a class or a semester really is a time to celebrate, but before you break out the guacamole, make sure you’ve got these end-of-the semester activities taken care of:
Organize your papers from the class you just completed.
The notes, papers, tests, and projects you’ve taken this semester can come in handy for the future– especially if the classes you’re taking next semester will build on the knowledge you gained from this semester. Most students on TV throw all of their old papers in the air once a class is over, but in this case, you don’t want to be like most students. Put all of your papers together (try and put them in the order they were created), find a big rubber band or manila envelope to keep them organized, and put them in a safe, dry place. If your instructor gave you a schedule of classes or a syllabus, put that on top. It will remind you what class the notes are from, and it will help in case you need to ask about your grade after the holiday break.
Find out when grades will be posted, and be sure to check them.
The last thing most students want to do after a class is over is check their grades, but if a grade is missing or is lower than you expected, the time to fix it is now. Find out when your grades will be mailed, or for many places, posted online for you to see – if this is going to be after the New Year, make sure you mark your calendar or put a note on your planner to check. If you have any questions about your grade, ask them now, while you and your work are still fresh in the teacher’s mind. If the teacher will be gone for the break, leave them a voice mail or e-mail, and be sure to follow up. I can’t tell you how important this is – a student once waited eight months to check on a grade, and by then, the teacher had thrown away the final exam and any e-mails about the class, so the student was stuck . Don’t let this happen to you.
Make sure your schedule is right for next semester.
Relaxation is on your mind, but you don’t want to come back in January to find out the classes you thought you scheduled are full – and you aren’t in them after all. Check your classes one last time, just to make sure, and if you’re on a payment plan with your school, make sure you know when the next payment is due.
Review your application for a certificate or diploma.
If this is your last semester of classes, congratulations! Make sure you’ve completed any paperwork the school requires for students who are finished. This can usually be done by checking with a counselor or adviser, or in the student services office. If you’re not sure any paperwork is required, ask – and make sure they have your right address, so they can mail your certificate or diploma to you.
You’ve worked hard – enjoy your break!