The Short Guide to a Successful Year

By: Anndrea Vasquez

Second semester. The second semester means very different things to each grade level. Second semester to seniors means finding out whether or not they’ll attend their dream school, or getting a letter from FAFSA saying they are receiving only $6,000 to pay for their $50,000 college tuition. For sophomores, it means reading a new, very boring and unexciting novel for Ms. Lee’s class, or it can be the time of realizing the importance of passing a class for some. For juniors, second semester is filled with testing: from the ACT to the SAT to AP exams. It could also mean coming to the realization that adulthood is near but far and being terrified of it. Juniors are also excited because they think you’re just going to live in some loft with no expenses or responsibilities at the age of 20. Which is nearly impossible without a very well paid job, which most would be very far from, at the age of 20. Second semester for freshmen means thinking about how you still have 3 more years of stress and agony. That is a lie, actually, you still have the rest of your life of stress and agony, but freshmen second semester also have the worries of their brand new relationship that will most definitely last until the end of time, or if not a new relationship, adjusting to their new schedule. So with all this stress of second semester here are very insightful tips for this new year so you can ace that test and pass that class.

#1. Get a planner

For those of you who use the school planner, you are phenomenal. If you’re one of the many people who doesn’t (including myself), hear this. Mr. Daniel tells his 9th class to take out their agendas. The class obeys. Four semesters later, Ms. Roselman has the homework written on the board for her 11th-grade students to copy. She gives no instruction to take planner’s out because it’s expected. You don’t want to seem like you care about school because you’re too cool. Homework disappears into the stack of white sheets in your bag. RIP homework. Get a very cool planner that has a narwhal on the cover or cover of a deodorant stick, you will seem edgy! Along with being portrayed as extremely innovative to your peers, you will actually do your homework. This planner does not need to be expensive, you can staple white sheets of paper together and create a booklet. Boom. Organized.


#2. Read things out loud

It sounds irrelevant, but we form auditory links in our memory pathways when we read things out loud. Basically, you will remember something more quickly if you read it out loud. Although you will seem like you are talking to yourself, your brain will be stuffed with information. Reading out loud will also make you more articulate. I’m sure your essays are jam-packed with big sizeable words, but actually trying to pronounce these words takes you a second. Then, there’s the APB kids who know Spanish but also don’t — those kids who like to think they have an accent and understand everything but refrain from speaking it because they are embarrassed at how they might sound. Reading out loud in Spanish will help it flow better so you don’t have to sound so, gringo.

#3. Space out assignments

We’ve all been in the position of finishing an essay on Google Classroom at 11:55 when it’s due at 11:59. Save yourself from the anxiety by spacing your homework out in days. Monday: the intro paragraph.Tuesday: body paragraphs. There are also days when instead of spacing your homework out, finish all your assignments in one night. You’ll be free to then watch Netflix & sleep the next night, although it’s easier to say than do.



4. Accept Failure

Getting an F on your progress report is the definition of disappointment and feels the same as getting slapped by your mom in public — embarrassing. So accepting that missing grade on PowerSchool is the first step to success. Try talking to your teacher about the problem or ask for a seat change. Adjust what you do every day and mix up your work ethic. Try different methods of studying, or stay with a teacher after school for extra help. After you come to the realization that what you’re doing isn’t working and you accept that you’re failing, it is the beginning of getting your act together. Once you realize your life is on its last strand, swap those bad work habits and start getting those C’s!


#5. Mind your own business

We all know that one kid who slaps their pencil down on the desk when they’re done with their final. Or the other who exclaims ‘IM DONE!’. These kids stress us out. By ‘us’, I mean those who take the extra 20 minutes after school and need that extra brain processing. So here’s where you need to mind your own business and remember that it’s okay to take more time than others. APB students should also mind their own business when it comes to the chisme your friends say. Keep it to yourself, or just pretend you didn’t hear anything at all.

#6. Put your electronics away

It’s 6:00 pm you take out your laptop for your next day assignments. You write for a few, but you see your Snap is blowing up. You check your phone and begin to go through your Snap stories. Then you go to Instagram and begin scrolling through the memes, a Twitter notification pops up. You click and see the new drama. The thought of the homework you were about to do is far behind your head. A new message comes in and it’s a request to play pool, and you begin playing iMessage games with your best friend. It’s 9:00 pm. You realize you’re pulling an all-nighter. This is the magic of procrastination. Next time you’re doing your homework, try putting your phone away or put it in airplane mode. It’s hard, but you will actually get things done.

So, with these six tips, take your school seriously and be a scholar. Your college future is riding on these four years. Make them count.



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