Plan! Keep a record of what you have learned
You may be thinking that you won’t ever need to look at that final assignment again once you’ve turned it in. Actually, it is always a good idea to hold on to it, or whatever work you created for your course that you’re particularly proud of. For one thing, the time stamps on those documents serve as evidence that you did the work at the appropriate time. But more importantly, it’s work that you can refer back to when applying for jobs or internships. Some hiring managers may ask for writing samples, and others may ask for a portfolio of creative work. You can then easily dust off any saved work, edit it for the appropriate job context, and impress those hiring teams. Alternatively, if you want to make your final project or other classwork more public, consider creating a Blogs@Baruch site to showcase that work.
Likewise, you may want to think about what skills you gained in the course. You may be saying, “well, I just studied and took a test”. For example, if you took an online course, that is a skill in itself – you had to prioritize and organize your time, space, and schedule in order to complete the course, learned and engaged with new technologies, and figured out how to succeed in an online environment. What helped you? What challenges did you overcome? Reflect on these questions and write down the skills or habits that helped you in the course. If your course included group work, think about what role you played and highlight that on your resume – employers love to know how applicants see themselves as team players. Practice updating your resume on a regular basis. The Writing Center offers resume and cover letter guidance and samples. There is often a short turnaround time when opportunities come up, and having a resume ready gives you a leg-up in the application process.
Learn! Finishing your coursework
You’re almost at the end, so it’s easy to forget about taking care of your mental and emotional needs. It may be a good time to think about some stress-reduction practices again. It’s also easy to get lost in all the deadlines and forget something important. Maybe you sketched out all those assignment deadlines somewhere (like we advised in the First Week of Class section of this guide), or maybe you didn’t. Whatever the case may be, it’s a good idea to revisit that, add to it, or create a new sketch just for this final crunch time. Staying on task is hard, especially when you’re juggling many commitments, so staying organized is crucial at this time. Have you created a study group in one of your courses? If so, verify assignment deadlines with fellow students. Feeling worried about whether you’ve handed in everything to your professor? Visit their office hours to ask, or check BlackBoard if that’s where you are supposed to submit your assignments. Record all this double-checking somewhere so that you can focus on your final assignments.
Have you ever wondered why professors are so strict about final assignment deadlines? It’s because they are on a deadline, too! The college has its own deadline for faculty to submit grades by, and strictly holds professors to that time. Add to that all the time instructors need to grade tests, assignments, and research papers for 4-5 classes (yup, that’s about 120 students on average!), and you will appreciate why deadlines are important to your professor. We all know that life happens, and if you have tried everything in your power to complete work by the deadline but still cannot finish, speak to your instructor about any options. But be prepared to hear that no good options may be available.
Engage! Keep the connections you have gained
Before you leave that last Zoom session, or log off the class Slack channel for the last time, you may want to think about how you can stay connected with your colleagues. It’s not a bad idea to send LinkedIn requests to classmates, especially if you worked closely with them on an assignment. You can endorse each other with skills, and follow interesting companies and organizations. You may be surprised to know how valuable these connections become in the long term.
And before you say good-bye to your professor, it may be a good idea to ask them for a recommendation letter now (especially if you did really well in their course and really liked the course and professor). Even if you are not applying to any internships or schools, we recommend asking your instructor to write something when you and your work are fresh in their mind. It may be a good idea to remind the professor about your work in their class by, for example, sending them a portfolio of your best work along with your recommendation request. If your instructor prefers to send their letters directly to employers or schools, just add a note that you are not applying anywhere yet, and will appreciate that they keep a letter for you on hand for when you do.
Want to make that lasting impression on your instructors and colleagues? Email a thank you note! We often feel grateful when we engage in good work with other people, but forget to put that into words and let our colleagues know. It only takes a few minutes, so get to it! (But remember that CUNY policy (PDF) forbids instructors to receive gifts from students, so don’t do that.)
More Tools and Services. . .
- Free digital storage options at CUNY:
- All students get a free Dropbox account through CUNY with 15 GB of online storage space
- All students get 1TB of online storage space for free One Drive account through Office 365 for Education
Click on any of the buttons below to read more about the overall approach, helpful tips, and useful resources you may need during different parts of the semester: