Staying Focused Through Spring Semester
Sorry, but there's no shortcut to this equation: You + Hard Work + Studying + Motivation = Graduation
January 21, 2015
The End of Applications
By mid-January, the majority of colleges and universities stop accepting applications. In effect, you’re done, and you should celebrate.
At the same time, you’re not done yet. Second quarter grades will be sent to your colleges, and so keeping up that “A” in calculus is still important.
The first half of your year was probably the biggest juggling act of your life.
Now that the process is essentially over, you have to make sure that you don’t drop everything.
Keeping Yourself Occupied
If you have a spring sport to practice for or a thousand AP classes, you probably won’t have much of a problem keeping yourself occupied. But even the busiest student can fall prey to post-application stress.
Now that everything’s in, you have to wait. March or April seems eons away. However, by keeping up your normal routine, you can limit the stress you experience.
First, keep up with your schoolwork. In some classes, like math or history, every unit builds on the last one, so falling behind could hurt your grades for the rest of the year.
Next, focus on big events in your future. If you have midterms or finals coming up, whenever stress usually hits may be the best time to start memorizing the periodic table or French vocabulary.
Also, don’t give up your extra-curricular activities. You probably had a multitude to choose from, so you didn’t choose yours just for an addition to your college application.
Remember what drew you to volunteering or the school newspaper originally, and dive back into the activity.
Using Outside Forces
Even if you can’t help but be distracted by the attractiveness of summer or the anxiety of waiting, you can still stay on task with some outside help.
Whoever lives with you, be it your parent or sibling, can help you concentrate. Ask them to encourage you by not allowing you to go out until you’ve studied, or to work beside you.
Your friends are invaluable resources as well. If they’re in your classes, consider organizing a study session with an appropriate number of people. You don’t want your studying to become a party.
Most of all, remember that your teachers are understanding people. Being honest and open with them about your time constraints and stress may benefit you immensely.
Every high school senior hits a roadblock around midterms, and your teachers may be willing to allow you an extension on a deadline or extra time on a test.
Finally, after midterms, you may have some time to relax. Teachers will often slow down for a few days before delving back into material because they know students are tired.
For AP classes, teachers may be eager to continue the lessons as soon as possible, especially with new standardized testing in many states.
With AP classes, the reward follows the AP exam, and AP students can further calm themselves down by only taking the AP tests that their colleges give credit for.
Some of my friends who completed applications decided to relieve stress by taking up new hobbies, like reading or running.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you have two important parts of senior spring semester to monitor: you and your grades.
Colleges can rescind acceptance if a student’s grades falter significantly. Don’t worry about getting a B or C in a very hard class, but earning a D is certainly something to worry about.
In many schools, seniors will have to take finals, so try to keep up so that cramming in the week before exams doesn’t occur.
Keep track of your schedule. Forgetting tests and assignments is easy when you feel your acceptances are coming, but forgetting homework can be detrimental to your grades.
Mind your mental state. If stress is hurting you, step back and take a day off, or talk to your parents or guidance counselors.
Enjoy senior year. It’s perfectly normal to worry about whom you’re going to prom with, and whether you bought the right dress or tuxedo. This is the time to have fun and be with your friends, so stay on track while relishing the last few months of high school.
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