The Purple and White Pawprint

Tips and Tricks for Surviving High School

Part 4: Don't get distracted by the spring semester.

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As many of you may know, surviving high school is important. So let’s look at the spring semester. Everyone knows that the most exciting thing about the spring semester is spring break. We often look forward to spring break so much that we forget how important this semester is academically. This brings me to my next tip: Don’t let the spring semester ruin your grades.

Experts at journals.sagepub.com say, “A review of 39 studies indicated that achievement test scores decline over breaks.”

Though the majority of students (and maybe even teachers) get excited about spring break, our grades sometimes suffer as a result of not paying as much attention in class as the break nears closer. More importantly is the combination that many teachers will have essays, projects ,and test due right before a long break, so when students are least attentive, they are loaded with work, which according to the above stat is better than giving it all after break.

It is important to remember that it’s okay to be excited, but you need to focus before break. It’s very common that students go on trips over spring break that result in them leaving school the day before spring break. Make sure that you get all your work caught up before you leave. No one wants to be failing because you missed a test on the last day of school before spring break.

Another important part of the spring semester are the sports of this season. Track, soccer, golf, baseball and softball start extensive practices. Balancing these spring activities and academic responsibilities is important. The spring sports, being the earliest to leave, often cause student-athletes to miss a large portion of their last block of the day. If you know when your games are, be sure to get any homework from your teacher beforehand. Take advantage of the time you have on the bus and work on your homework between riding to and from games. Ask your teacher to share any notes you may need and make time to come see your teacher before school to get caught up. Even something as simple as asking a fellow classmate to catch you up is an easy way to start balancing your busy sport’s schedule with your busy school work schedule.

You may notice that quite a few juniors take the ACT in the springtime. The spring semester, though exciting, is usually quite busy. Unless you need to take it in the spring, delay until the June test so you have two weeks after school is out to prepare and focus only on that task rather than spreading yourself thin.

Lastly, there are only 8 weeks remaining until finals after spring break, so be prepared for the year to go by quickly and for teachers to accelerate to cover content.  If you are behind in work, you will likely stay there unless you take immediate action. If you wait till the end of a semester to start worrying about grades, then that time has come.

As long as you understand that the spring semester is important in all aspects, and don’t get distracted by the nice weather, the break, and extra curriculars, you can succeed in surviving a hectic fourth quarter..

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