I always imagined that the last day of class (LDOC) would be like that scene from the end of the Breakfast Club, but year after year I’ve been disappointed.
The LDOC can be bittersweet. You’ve just finished a term of hard work, and there’s an expectation that it’s time to party. But exams are just around the corner and you’re realizing you’ll really miss the new friends you made during your course.
I’ve ended many classes like sad George Michael from Arrested Development, so I’ve developed a few strategies to improve the LDOC experience. With these tips, you can find a sense of closure for the term, acknowledge all of your achievements, and prepare yourself for the future.
Make the connection with that friend from class
We all have “class buddies”—the friendly faces that we look forward to seeing at every lecture. It can be hard to move from “class buddies” to “real life buddies”. The LDOC presents the upsetting realization that you won’t be seeing your new friend as often.
So, on the last day of class, ask them for their social media details (if you haven’t already) and, if there’s an exam coming up, make plans to study together. While the course may be ending, that doesn’t mean your new friendships needs to end, too!
Compile your notes
After 3 months of studying Renaissance Literature, it’s possible you never want to hear those words again.
While course burnout is totally understandable, it also undermines the months of hard work you put in! So, instead of using your notebooks as kindling, quickly compile a master copy of notes. Skim through pages of information and distill it down to a single page or two. It doesn’t need to be perfect–just a synopsis. That way, you can reflect on everything you learned over the term, while also making a resource that might come in handy later.
When a question on Renaissance literature pops up in a job interview in 20 years, you’ll thank me.
Save feedback from your professors
Being a student is a learning process that carries over from term-to-term. Learning how to be a student is just as important as learning course content. Feedback from instructors serves as a tool that helps us hone our craft.
So hold on to your essays and lab reports. Even if the results weren’t what you were hoping for, each piece of feedback is a lesson and an inspiration unto itself. When you begin the process of writing essays or lab reports next term, you’ll have an idea of what you can improve!
Thank the prof
It’s a curious thing: we spend hours listening to professors speak, getting to know them and their lives, yet we often never think to make a personal connection. The thought of leaving behind a favourite professor can be saddening and unfulfilling.
On the last day of class, let the prof know that you enjoyed the course. Thank them for the dedication and care they brought to the lecture hall each class! It’s a great way to vocalize your feelings about the term, while also offering encouragement to a hard-working professor!
It’s always important to take time and unpack your feelings after a long and busy term. Think about your areas for growth, the improvements you’ve made, and the goals you’ve achieved.
Find a nice spot at the Rose Garden (or another quiet spot), maybe put on your favourite music, and think things through. If you find it helpful to jot your thoughts down, bring a journal along.
Hold on to the positive things and clear the slate of the less desirable outcomes, be they academic or personal—every experience can become a lesson for the future! This process of reflection provides a sense of closure and paves the way for success in the upcoming term.