Here we are – we face the homestretch of another academic year at Keene State College.

Graduation is less than a month away, and if you haven’t already noticed, commencement preparation has begun on the quad.

For some, this is a fun time of year; the weather is nice and Spring Weekend is just around the corner.

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Other students begin to sweat as they realize they are limited in the time they have left to bring their grades up and finish coursework.

Maria Dintino, the associate director of the Aspire Program at KSC, said this is the time students need to know what assignments they have left in each course.

“There is no time left for vagueness.  If you don’t know what you have left in each class, find out,” she stated.

Dintino suggested students look at final papers and projects and “chunk” them down into manageable pieces that can be worked on each day until the deadline.

KSC junior Kate Cordner said that as a visual learner, she writes down every assignment in her planner.

She also spreads out her week on a whiteboard she keeps on the back of her door.

“What really helps me to stay organized is to look at the board.  If I see what I have to do, then I’ll actually do it,” Cordner explained.

Dintino echoed Cordner and said that one of the best things students can do is to write every assignment down.

“Record it somehow.  We find for students who don’t, it doesn’t play out well.”

She continued, “We like to see students map it out.”

The Aspire Program provides weekly planners to students who have trouble getting their assignment schedule organized.

KSC junior Derek Small stays on top of his course load as he refers to a list of everything he has due.

“I always use a stop-and-go checklist.  Then, I try to get things done quickly and efficiently,” Small explained.

Sarah Piorkowski, a sophomore, said she prioritizes her work by mapping out her assignments of what’s due in order by deadline in her agenda.

“I write down my final projects so I know I have to work on them, but I work on what’s due soonest,” she explained.

Similarly, Dintino identified procrastination as the greatest downfall for students at this time of year. “Procrastination is huge,” she said.

“That’s what’s going to get students at this point.”

Dintino said students need to identify their “non-negotiables” and prioritize their work and the most important factors that contribute to their lives, like food and sleep.

It’s no surprise KSC Counselor Joseph Yazvac believes this time to be a very stressful period in students’ lives.

Yazvac encouraged students to find a balance between work and their own personal “Me-Time.”

He said he finds that students omit the “self-care” piece of their life when they’re stressed with coursework.

Yazvac said, “Acknowledge it’s a busy time of the semester and figure out a balance.”

He continued and agreed with Dintino as he recommended students map out the next three to four weeks.

“When things are predictable, it’s less stressful.” Yazvac also encouraged students who are stressed to seek help from peers and faculty.

Dintino likewise said students should talk to their instructors if they need clarification or assistance. “It’s amazing the number of students who don’t approach faculty with concerns,” she continued. “That’s the best thing a student can do.”

Professors aren’t the only available resources on-campus – the Center for Writing assists students on papers ranging through any discipline, even lab reports.

Marcia Barrett, administrative assistant for the Center for Writing, said it is critical for students to plan ahead at this point.

She suggested students who need assistance in writing final papers to make appointments with the center as soon as possible as the slots fill quickly at this time.

These final weeks can be stressful for everyone.

Take a minute to ease that stress and make some kind of plan to help make your tasks seem less daunting.

You may be impressed with the outcome.


Keep calm and carry on, Keene State.


Julie Conlon can be contacted at


Kim Borkowski can be contacted at


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