Welcome back and Happy New Year! January in Princeton has rhythm that’s different from the rest of the academic year, so I’m writing with a few reminders and tips about how to use your time most efficiently.
“Dean’s Date” may still seem like a slightly mysterious term—it just notes the university deadline for the submission of all written work (except for take-home exams), and is a firm deadline for professors. This year, Dean’s Date is Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00pm, and the deadline for all take-home exams is Monday, January 23 at 5:00pm. Individual professors may set deadlines that fall prior to these times, but extensions beyond the University deadlines must be approved by me or Dean Avens AND the course instructor before the deadline. This means that if you’re having trouble on a paper, you cannot simply ask a professor for an extension; the college office must be involved. (The same rule applies to the take-home final deadline.) You are expected to understand your workload and manage your time appropriately. Get advice from people who’ve been there, like your RCA and PAA (peer academic adviser). If, despite your best efforts, you find that you will not be able to finish your papers on time, see Dean Avens or me before the work is due! You may call the college office at 609-258-3728 to make an appointment.
Some more tips for Reading Period:
Try to give yourself some structure: write down both a long term and a daily schedule that includes concrete studying/writing goals; break your work down into chunks—and be realistic about how long each chunk will take; prioritize your work, and make sure that you allow yourself a little spill-over time to complete any tasks that take longer than you anticipate. Check out this great handout on preparing for exams, which helps you to think like a professor while you’re studying: formulate central questions, identify/classify information, focus on main themes/concepts and find supporting evidence, create study aids like reading summaries/charts/a course blueprint, take practice exams under timed conditions.
The Writing Center is open this week, and is a great source of advice as you work on your Dean’s Date assignments. For appointments, see: https://writing.princeton.edu/scheduler/appointments/ The reading period appointments fill up quickly, so schedule an appointment now. Many courses are also offering review sessions: check on Blackboard or watch for emails from your instructors. And McGraw is offering limited individual tutoring , learning consultations, and supported study halls for quite a few math/science courses as well , as well as a workshop on preparing for finals on Jan 11 (8:30-10) and 13 (1:30-3) (Click here to reserve a spot).
Carve out times to eat and sleep, since you’ll get nowhere fast if you’re running on empty. Stock up on healthy snacks. Reading period and finals are a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. Find time to exercise, to relax, and to breathe. You can do this.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. I will send more details about exam policies next week—in the meantime, here’s wishing you a productive reading period, and a great start to the new year!