With the Approach of Finals, Consider a Short Study Break: Focus on Your Future

By Kate Szumanski

With finals approaching, now isn’t the best time to think about your career and professional development is it? There are deadlines to meet, tests to study for, and papers to write.

But in these busy moments when you’re sleep deprived and swamped with work, I challenge you to take a deep breath, find a brief quiet time to reflect, and think about what all of this work is leading toward.

Maybe your dream is to become an emergency room doctor, triaging patients and saving lives. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, fighting for justice in a court of law. Maybe you’re fascinated by operating systems and software advances, and a career in computer programming is calling to you. And maybe you are a whiz with numbers and seek to apply your strong analytical skills on Wall Street in finance.

Or maybe, just maybe, you’re not sure what “you want to be when you grow up.” And you know what, that’s perfectly OK. What’s not OK is not talking about your options, your strengths, and your passions, for therein this discussion might possibly be your professional ambition waiting to be explored.

What are you doing know to lay the foundation for your dream to be realized? What are you doing now to help discover what that professional dream might be?

After you think about these questions, go back to the books. You have finals to ace. But during your winter break, think more deeply about these important issues. Discuss them with people you trust. Think about how you will return to the University in January 2015 with a renewed focus on your professional development.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, and in the Office of Undergraduate Students, we teach our students – liberally educated young adults – to be adaptable, nimble, and flexible students and professionals who contribute powerfully to society.

We want our students to realize their full potential, to discover their passions and to pursue them with relentless determination. Maybe it’s through an internship. Maybe it’s through a professional development course. Maybe it’s through one of our many professional development events. Discovering who you are and what your impact can be should help define your Villanova journey.

I encourage students to visit the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107 often. Discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Let our office of dedicated professionals help you on your journey of discovery.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

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[Guest Post] Dean Lindenmeyr’s Do’s and Don’ts for Academic Success in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dean Lindenmeyr graciously stopped by to share these illuminating tips for success, which she first bestowed upon the class of 2018 at Orientation several weeks ago.

Ten Dean’s Do’s and Don’ts for Academic Success in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova

  1. DO take the time to get to know your professors. Visit them during office hours. Take advantage of their willingness to get to know you better, and to work with you.
  2. DON’T skip class. Ever. You’ll miss important information and annoy your professors; and you want to stay on their good side. And never, ever text or phone in class.
  3. DO buy the textbooks. Open them. Read them.
  4. DON’T sit in class like a lump. Be an active learner, not a limp, passive sponge.
  5. DO study with friends. Learn along with them and from them.
  6. But DON’T cheat. Ever. We know all the ways to cheat, and you will be caught.
  7. DO take at least one course that seems completely exotic and fulfills absolutely no requirement. It could be Gaelic or Russian history, medieval poetry or the sociology of deviance or the chemistry of art. Explore.
  8. DO change your mind at least once about your major or your career goals, even if you change it back later.
  9. DON’T wait until the second semester of your senior year to visit the Career Center in Garey Hall.
  10. DO take advantage of the academic opportunities that are all around you. Do something daring. When a door suddenly opens before you, walk through it.