“Many will start fast, few will finish strong.” Gary R. Blair

The 2020/2021 school year is nearing its end and, regardless of how you started the year back in September, the last two months of school offer an exciting opportunity for you to finish on a high note. The “home stretch” of a school year comes with a choice – put it in “cruise control” and coast across the finish line, or keep grinding and build an unstoppable force of momentum that will carry you through the summer to the start of the next school year!

It’s Not for Everyone

“Finishing the drill” with a crescendo of positive momentum is not for everyone. As Mr. Blair notes, many start fast, but only few finish strong! There are countless times in history, some recent and some a bit older, in which the start of a big project, game, race, or competition starts off beautifully, only to be tarnished by a lackluster finish!

When Finishing the Drill Goes Wrong

I am a lifelong fan (somewhat fanatical) of the New York Football Giants. Back in 2003, I was a 23 year old, fresh out of college, whose Fall and Winter Sundays were dedicated to watching Giants Football. The result of each game often played a role in what my mood would be for the start of the next week. Here comes the “finish the drill story” – January 5th, 2003, New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants led 28-14 at halftime and 38-22 going into the 4th quarter – giving us diehards hope that their magical season would continue. There was a moment, I forget exactly when, when a player from the Giants pointed to the scoreboard in an effort to taunt players from the 49ers. It was at this exact moment when I knew that the Giants would not be finishing the drill that day. To recount what transpired in the 4th quarter will be too painful (haha); however, if you would like to take a look at how the Giants lost in heartbreaking fashion, take a look at this YouTube highlight video.

Building “The Mo”

My hope is that no one experiences a collapse comparable to what happened to my beloved Giants back in 2003. Check out our daily checklist (below) for a few tips and ideas to help you build the “mo” (momentum) and finish the drill to the best of your ability!

  1. Check Yourself: The 9-month school year grind is typically challenging for all parties involved (students, teachers, parents, administrators, and staff); however, the 2020/2021 school year included challenges of a whole new level! You’re tired, run down, and possibly even unmotivated to do anything related to school. “Checking yourself” requires a bit of self-reflection – what emotions are you feeling in the morning, during the day, right after school, and in the evening? Take time to identify your emotional standing each day – be honest, write it down, and…
  2. Communicate with your Support System: One great way to find a spark of inspiration is to talk with a trusted family member, friend, sibling, teacher, counselor, or coach. Having such conversations will lead to the discovery that you are not alone – either there are others experiencing the similar challenges, or you will find some comfort in sharing with the trusted member of your support system. Oftentimes, an “outsiders” point of view will serve as a strong guiding light for you!
  3. Communicate with your Teachers: These conversations are less personal and more tactical! Schedule a time to speak with each of your teachers and ask them to share where you stand academically. If you are in solid academic standing in that class, keep doing what you are doing (if it ain’t broke…). If you are struggling in the class, ask your teacher to share some small activities or exercises you can complete each day to help you improve. Having the conversation shows teachers that you care and that you want to put in the work. Teachers are almost always willing to go the extra mile for students who show that kind of initiative!
  4. Wellness Refocus: When the mind and heart are facing negativity, the body tends to follow suit! Dedicating time to a “wellness refocus” is a great way to turn the tides of negativity around. Each day, try to carve out 30 to 60 minutes for YOU! Your wellness refocus may include outdoor recreation activities or exercise, quiet reading or reflection, or working on a hobby you enjoy. The most important aspect here is to block out that time and hold yourself accountable to taking that “me time”. I would also encourage you to speak with your family members to let them know that you will be taking time each day to focus on your own individual wellness and that you would appreciate their respect and space to do so!
  5. Find, and Celebrate, the Little Victories: If negativity has started to creep into, or even consume, your thoughts and feelings about the last two months of school, try to remind yourself to look for the little positive moments that put a smile on your face. Always take a few seconds (or more!) to celebrate each positive moment because those “little positives”, while seemingly insignificant when viewed in isolation; can become BIG victories when compiled!

Finishing the Blog!

We hope you enjoyed our “finish the drill” checklist and that you are able to find positives and successes along your journey towards the end of the school year! The most important element of finishing the drill is remembering that you are NOT in it alone. Consistent communication with your trusted support network will lessen any feelings of isolation by keeping you connected to those who are in your corner rooting for your success!

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