We are halfway through the third quarter and many students, myself included, are finding it increasingly harder to keep up with school work. With a big and overwhelming workload, it is difficult to find the motivation to complete it all. Almost every student experiences burn out around March; the weather is dreary and each day feels like a repeat of the last.
For seniors, there is a feeling that there is no reason to continue putting in their best effort because they have determined their plans for after high school. For those going to college, many have already been accepted and as long as they maintain decent grades it will not impact their success. For the seniors going to trade school, their quarter three and quarter four grades minimally impact where they end up. This lack of motivation has been dubbed “senioritis”.
“I have always been really focused when it comes to school and I’ve tried to stay on top of my grades. Now that I have been accepted to colleges, I have started slacking a little bit,” said senior Caroline Wittenauer. “I think I’ve wanted to graduate for so long, I keep telling myself to just get through to graduation.”
To an extent, all grade levels also experience a version of “senioritis” without even having their future planned out. Underclassmen are experiencing a lack of motivation in school without having the safety net of knowing where they will end up in the end. Everyone is tired of putting in the effort to achieve good grades that no longer give them academic validation. The grade is slowly losing its meaning as it seems to not matter. Many underclassmen either forget or feel that they cannot keep good grades so they stop grinding out schoolwork.
In the fall, everyone is refreshed and ready to learn, but as the year goes on and the days all seem the same, many end up counting the minutes until the weekend. February break provides students with some time off to refresh and relax, but a consequence of this is the piling on of work and tests right before and after the much needed break.
The third quarter is overwhelming as teachers scramble to cram in all the lessons in their curriculum before AP testing and finals. These exams can overwhelm even the most prepared students, leaving many wondering if putting in the effort now is even worth it. And that is not even taking into consideration extracurricular activities such as clubs, volunteering, sports and jobs.
Getting through the remainder of the school year with good grades is a herculean feat. But do not fret, there are many tactics to release added stress and regain some motivation to do school work. While some strategies would not work for everyone, one of them is sure to work for you.
Many people distract themselves from school work by hanging out with friends, driving, exercising, creating art, watching television, reading, going on Tiktok, or taking a short trip.
Junior Haley Ferris said, “Whenever I feel super stressed about school I take a break and watch Netflix. The other day I was feeling really stressed about school overall, so I binge watched all of Outer Banks and after that I felt a little bit better about school. I felt more ready to do my homework and it just felt more manageable.”
A popular way to regain motivation for school is to relieve stress by working out. The Edge in Trumbull is overrun by high school students looking for a way to destress and work out. Many Edge members as well as Masuk students participate in school sports. While exercising and playing a sport can be a much-needed break for many student-athletes at Masuk, it can be a very time-consuming way to relieve stress.
“It definitely does help relieve stress from school, like if I have a test the next day it will help me to forget about it. If I had an important game or meet that day I wouldn’t really be thinking much about school because my mind would be centered around the game later,” said junior Erin Davis. “It is also very time-consuming, it forces me to set aside time to study and get the most done, so it’s really easy to focus on it. Then when I am done studying I go to practice and get my mind off school for a while.”
The only problem with distracting yourself with stress-relieving activities is that many times, you may not want to start school work, as the activity is much more enjoyable. The key is that you have to learn to know when to stop studying or doing school work, as well as know when to get back to it. For this, I would recommend taking a break every 30 minutes to an hour, or whenever you switch subjects, to make sure you do not overwhelm yourself with work.
For the AP U.S. Government and Politics test last year, I studied for a week beforehand, in and out of class. But the weekend before the test on Monday I could not look at the material without wanting to cry. I listened to myself and stopped studying. Instead, I briefly read it over but did not look at it all weekend, and in the end, I was still adequately prepared for the test and did well.
Since it is only March and there are four months of school left with SATs, PSATS, AP tests, finals, regular tests and assignments left, it can be overwhelming. But if you keep encouraging yourself to work hard and understand when to take a good break and relax then we can all survive the rest of the year.