The Academic Decline of the Second Semester

A spread of a students homework load.

Kathryn Roseberry

A spread of a student’s homework load.

Kathryn Roseberry, Staff Writer

As the fourth marking period winds down and summer quickly approaches, many students have begun thinking about summer plans, end-of-the-year trips, and finally leaving school behind for the year. However, they also begin thinking about final projects, essays, SATs, and the schoolwork that stands in their way of a relaxing summer. 

Academic decline hits hard this time of year, and many students find that a lack of motivation is damaging their mental health and preventing them from effectively completing assignments. 

“At this point in the school year, we’re already done with our breaks until summer break,” junior Ruthann Petrosky said. Students often feel like they spend the last quarter of the year just pushing through, a sentiment that junior Keira Jones also expressed.

“We’re all really anxious to just be done,” Jones explained. “We’re just trying our hardest to get to the end now.” 

Students have their own coping mechanisms that they turn to in order to help them get through this difficult period of the year. With standardized tests and final projects galore, the end of the school year is hardly a time to relax.

“Read, I just read books!” Jones said with a laugh, sharing her main stress reliever. 

Burnout affects many students during this time of year because the end of the school year seems so close, yet so far.

“It feels like you’re running a marathon and it’s the last mile, and it’s just hard to get through because you’re so numb,” Petrosky added.

The students who generally have the worst time at the end of the school year are the seniors, who often feel tired of schoolwork since the end of their high school careers is in sight. These feelings have been dubbed “senioritis” in recent years and are very common amongst seniors.

“I haven’t been hit very hard [by senioritis],” senior Margaret Higgins said. “The classes that I’m enjoying, the classes I do well in, I continue to be engaged.”

Many students, not just seniors, continue to enjoy classes that they like, but put less time and energy into classes they aren’t as enthusiastic about.

“The classes that I don’t like or that I don’t need to graduate I’m like, okay, I don’t like this class, I don’t need to put as much effort in, I’m leaving in a month anyway,” Higgins explained.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed during the home stretch of the school year. While it may not be possible to make these feelings go away, there are many ways to briefly relieve stress and relax in between study sessions. Read a book as Jones suggested, listen to music, go for a walk, or do whatever else makes you happy. Finding just a few minutes to do a stress-relieving activity can help to increase motivation, so utilizing a quick brain break can be the key to ending the school year on a high note.