Monday Morning Message 5.3.21 The COVID-19 Serenity Prayer for Final Exams

Posted 2021-05-03 9:50am

“It’s not that I’m that smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein

“Try taking charge of your attention. Avert your gaze from whatever tempts you. Focus instead on whatever makes achieving your goals easier. Your future self will thank you for it.” – Angela Duckworth

Final exams begin tomorrow and continue until May 14.

First, I’d like to share my COVID-19 Serenity Prayer for Final Exams.

COVID-19 Serenity Prayer for Final Exams

  • God grant me the serenity to accept that this semester of continued disruption and stress has already tested me in ways I could not have imagined.
  • The courage to lean into the uncertainty with strength, resilience, and optimism.
  •  And the wisdom to know that whatever the circumstances I face, I always have a choice on how to respond.
  • Understanding that if I change the way I look at things, the things I look at can change.
  • Realizing that sometimes we need to be set apart to feel together.
  • Learning that it’s possible to physically isolate and digitally connect.
  • Thanking our faculty and staff for pivoting this last year to remote teaching and support.
  •  Knowing that I have prepared the best I can from the confines and distractions of my home.
  • Trusting in my skills and surrendering to an unshakeable belief in myself.
  •  Accepting that the exam doesn’t just test my knowledge, it tests my state of mind.
  • Focusing on the moment, parking my worries and fears at the bedroom door, and visualizing success.
  •  Pacing myself, taking each question one at a time, and applying the law to the facts.
  •  Taking the exam as it is, not how I or others would have written it.
  • Supremely happy that I am a student at a law school where we have each other’s back and we are in this together.
  • Remembering that I have chosen to study and work during this time of my life like most people won’t, so that I can learn law and live justice like most people can’t.
  • Amen.


Second, below are some excellent tips from some of our faculty and staff.

Sarah Beznoska, Assistant Dean, Student and Career Services, and Nick De Santis, Director of Academic Support

 Professor Sandra Kerber

  • Read and follow the exam instructions carefully!
  • Survey the format of the exam: the value of each question often reflects the recommended time!
  • Pace yourself: budget your time!
  • Finally, Believe in yourself!

Professor Kevin O'Neill

  • It's critical that you get adequate SLEEP before taking a final exam. To perform successfully, you must be alert, not groggy, and you must have stamina -- but you won't have these things without adequate sleep.
  • I still remember a student from 15 years ago who got an "A" on my midterm but crashed and burned on the final because she stayed up studying most of the night before.

Professor Heidi Robertson

  • Remember that your professors are different from one another. Each one has an idea about what s/he wants you to learn and how s/he wants you to present it.  Try to figure out those things and respond to the exam accordingly.
  • Some professors will be very clear about how they want you to approach an exam question --yet many students don't do it.  If s/he tells you how to do it, do it that way!
  • Write with care. Lots of spelling mistakes, badly constructed sentences, poor grammar, and other writing crimes detract from your ability to make your best case on the exam. Even if the professor wants to read past them, that's difficult to do and it will sway (negatively) your professor's opinion of what you've written.

Professor Chris Sagers

  • Don't talk to other students about the test after it's over. You'll just psych yourself out.
  • Just get to work on the next thing, and when the final one is over for the term, go take a break.

Professor Mark Sundahl

  • Review past exams from your professors to get a feel for the nature of their exams.
  • Compile your course outlines on your own. The process of creating an outline is how you learn the material, not by using someone else's outline.

Good luck on final exams!

This Week’s Monday Moment: 22 Uplifting Songs to Get You Out of a Law School Final Exam Funk

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

Have a great day. Have a great week.

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My best,


Lee Fisher

Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law


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