Robert Zamsky, dean of students and an associate professor of English, gives his advice on how to “do things right” for students and families over winter break and ISP.
The time after the end of fall semester can seem like something of a void – you have the much-anticipated holiday break, and then the January Independent Study Project or ISP period.
But, if you’re doing things right, this time should be an integral part of your ongoing progress. So, how do you “do things right?”
First, as much as possible, treat break as break. Novo collegians work incredibly hard during the semester, and everyone needs time to recharge. Then, once break is over, be ready to hit the ground running during ISP.
This can seem tricky because, for most students, time during ISP is much less structured than it is during the semester. You don’t have classes; both students and faculty may be squirreled away working on projects, and a good number of students are not on campus. It just generally feels different.
There are two things you can do that will help to make sure that this time is both productive and enjoyable:
– Develop a daily schedule for yourself, including a very concrete calendar of how you are going to advance through your ISP project;
– Interact with friends, faculty, and staff. Be sure to look for the many events that will be hosted on campus during ISP, and take advantage of any that seem interesting to you.
Finally, prepare for your spring semester. Are any of your courses continuations of those from the fall? If so, is there anything you can do to help maintain the momentum until February? Have you reviewed your evaluations from the fall, and do have specific ideas about how to both build upon your strengths and remedy any weaknesses that came up?
Do you have any questions for faculty from the fall? Be sure to stay in touch with your advisor. I’ll say it again – be in touch with your advisor! Please consider all of these tips headed into your break, and most importantly, relax and enjoy the holidays. As always, if you have questions, ask! Ask me or talk with your advisor. We’re here to help guide you every semester, including during your ISP.