With many Briercrest students already making their way home for the holidays it is officially time to begin celebrating the completion of first semester.
As first year student Kara Giesbrecht reflects upon the many ups and downs of her first semester, not only is she ready for a break from final assignments and exams, but also the time commitments her music program requires.
“I was in choir and we were having extra rehearsals for Christmas and I am taking piano lessons as well,” said Giesbrecht, “I had a recital so that was another chunk of time, and then there was the worship team and practices, and we had 6:45 a.m. sound check every morning.”
Besides taking four classes, along with their assignments and exams, an average week for Giesbrecht consisted of at least four hours of worship practice, three hours of choir rehearsals, a one-hour piano lesson, and an additional six hours of required practice time in the piano room. “It was a little bit crazy,” sighed Giesbrecht with a laugh.
Giesbrecht said one of her biggest struggles as the semester came to a close was finding a balance between the crunch-time of final assignments and her musical commitments.
“I guess most of my semester had been pretty relaxed, but then all my assignments were kind of due all at once, and they were all major assignments,” explained Giesbrecht, “and there was some music stuff that was picking up as well, so I was finding it a little bit stressful to know where to focus my time and my energy.”
With her nerves a little more frazzled than usual, Giesbrecht says she’s made sure to pray often, keep chocolate close at hand, and not to let all her to do’s get in the way of spending time with God.
“I have had a few rough patches,” smiled Giesbrecht, “overall things were a little bit stressful or tense, but I guess I have been reminded in the midst of all this there are reasons to be thankful. God is still good, He still is sovereign and I was just reminded of His love.”
Giesbrecht says her motivation to finish strong comes from keeping her focus on the end goal and remembering Christmas is just around the corner.
“The fact that the semester was almost over, just to throw in the towel or not really give much of an effort for those remaining few things would have been useless,” said Giesbrecht, “and put a big yes with an exclamation mark because I am going home for Christmas!”
Allison Berg also shares in this excitedment. The second year music student said she was also more than ready for first semester to finish up so she could go home for the holidays.
“I am very much looking forward to being at home and just being able to take a break, relax and to be able to celebrate what Christmas is about,” says Berg, “and just to catch up with friends and family and engage in some of those Christmas traditions at home.”
While Berg said she did not share in the same stress of the November/December crunch-time of assignments that Giesbrecht did, she did find herself busy with similar musical commitments.
Also involved with choir, the Christmas production, and recitals, Berg spent at least four hours a week practicing for her conducting classes and getting ready for the Christmas production, all on top of having eight a.m. classes all week.
With her course work requiring a large portion of her time, Berg said keeping focused and managing her time well was her best line of defense in getting everything accomplished.
“I am a scheduler and I like making to do lists and writing everything down that I need to get done for the day,” said Berg, “I usually made my list the night before so I get into the right mindset and know tomorrow needs to be a productive day or else I am going to get behind.”
Now that first semester is over Berg said things have become a little less stressful, but is now finding herself thinking about the end of second semester already.
“I have thoughts of graduating in the spring and that has been a little stressful now, too,” said Berg, “just figuring out if I want to go to a different school after this, or thinking of jobs to apply at or what will be next semester.”
Despite the stresses the students may face whatever they may be, Giesbrecht and Berg both agree for now it is time to put school out of mind for a few weeks and simply enjoy being around friends and family for the holiday season.