Crunch Time: How to stay focused during the final countdown

By: Caroline Utz

At high schools all around the country, second semester is notorious for burnt-out students. With first semester under their belts, students can have trouble focusing on academics and may instead turn their attention to upcoming events like spring break and prom. Some seniors may feel their grades do not even matter as their plans for next year are already decided. 

“During second semester, students become very focused on spring break, prom, and end of the year activities,” senior guidance counselor Mrs. Laura McGuirk said. “There are a lot more temptations to go outside in warmer weather as well.”

Even teachers are subject to be worn out this time of year.

“Just like the students, I think teachers get a little burnt out too,” English teacher Mrs. Alison Koopman said. “When we see students losing focus, we can become a little frustrated with the lack of effort, but I think that we realize how important it is to stay motivated, whereas sometimes students have a hard time seeing the bigger picture.”

According to McGuirk, the most common symptoms of the second semester slump include not turning in homework, not studying for tests, and coming to class unprepared.

However, there is a solution for the end of the year lack of effort.

“Become very organized,” McGuirk said. “Make a weekly to-do list. Touch base with teachers. Get tutoring from Be a Better Bulldog leaders. Just don’t give up.”

Koopman also has advice for those less than motivated students.

“Try to remember what you’re working toward whether it be college or career,” Koopman said. “Success in high school does matter after graduation. Remind yourself that there is a purpose to what you’re doing, and hard work now will pay off in the future.”

To seniors who feel as if they have already paid their dues, second semester can hit especially hard. Commonly called “senioritis,” the epidemic causes seniors to lose interest in their remaining time in high school when next year’s plans are determined. However, it can be risky to give up on the last weeks of high school even when students are already accepted to a college.

“Colleges check final transcripts and can rescind admissions,” McGuirk said. “I have seen that done before.”

As another means of motivation,  students will have to stay on task if they wish to attend one of high school’s most popular events. According to an information sheet posted in many classrooms, students must be passing all classes to dance the night away at prom. Attendance is also crucial as students must not have any unexcused absences between March 22 and April 27. Other guidelines include a student may not have ten or more absences, late sign-ins, or tardies second semester.

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