As with the end of every semester, I wish I had time to sit down with each of you and offer my personal support as you move into finals week. But there are 9,608 of you and only one of me. So, please accept this letter as my heartfelt expression of encouragement to you.This is the most important time of your semester—this moment, today, the last few days before you take your final exam or turn in your last project. This is your most important hour. What are you going to do with it?
I hear many of you say what I remember thinking when I was in your shoes thirty years ago. “I just want this semester over.” “I’m out of energy.” “It’s going to have to be good enough.” “I don’t care what my grade is anymore, I just want to pass the class.”
May I suggest that there will be more than enough time to kick back and relax in a few days, after you take your finals. And the more consistently and focused you work right now the more satisfying your rest will be then. Now is the time to pour it on and sprint to the finish line. Don’t run faster than you are able. Be smart. But please know that you are more able than you can imagine possible. And the harder you work now the more your capacity will grow. More even than getting a good grade, putting your all into finishing well this semester will inculcate into your character the quality of being a person who finishes well in all things. A semester might feel like a marathon; but today you are at the beginning of your last lap. It is a sprint. Give it all you’ve got!
Michael Johnson, winner of four Olympic gold medals and regarded as one of the greatest sprinters in the history of track and field, said, “Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter; long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to do our best.”
This moment, today, and the next few days before you take the last of your final exams is your opportunity to do your best. You only have one lap to go. All of your work over the last 15 weeks will be defined by these final moments. Make it your best. Give it your all. Don’t quit until it is finished. And know that I am on the sidelines, along with all your friends in the Southern Utah University family, cheering you on. This is not a competition where the best or brightest wins. It is a battle fought within your mind to become the champion of yourself. You will be the victor, always, as you push yourself a little more than ever before and become an increasingly disciplined and strong person. It is in you. Always remember, this is not just about the grade you get—where you might feel tempted now to settle for less—it is more about the person you become.
Good luck this week. Remember, the harder you work the luckier you will be. I look forward to seeing you all back on campus next semester (unless this is your last semester and you are graduating now). And when finals are over—and you have done everything you can—have a joyous, restful holiday season!
Learn more about President Wyatt here.