The spring semester has just begun, and students may already be feeling the itch for summer vacation, especially with the distraction of Valentine’s Day looming near. For those educators who teach high school seniors or graduating college students, you may notice your students exhibiting a “less than moderate interest in school-related activities, especially academics.” They may be showing signs of boredom in class, off-task behavior, tardiness or skipping, sleeping or daydreaming when they should be actively working on a class assignment, and increased “fixation with partying” (www.ecampustours.com). These signs are all symptoms of dreaded senioritis. Because senioritis can be a severe and contagious condition, students should take necessary precautions to avoid this dreaded condition, which can be triggered by preparations for and celebrations of a special day such as Sweetheart’s Day.
Valentine’s Day Origin
With Valentine’s Day just four days away, students might be feeling extra anxious and distracted by the hype of the celebrated day for lovers. In hallways in almost every school across the world, giddy students are passing valentines in between classes, giving and receiving gifts of flowers, chocolates, and stuffed animals, stealing quick kisses from one another when teachers are not looking, and gossiping about their Valentine’s Day plans. Throughout this work week, schools will be abuzz with students’ giggles and whispers of this special day. However, some students might not even know how this day all began. The history Valentine’s Day began “roughly in 269 A.D. In that year, a Roman priest named Valentine would die a martyr to his cause. The priest married young Christian couples according to the tenets of his faith. The government of Rome ordered the priest to cease and desist his actions, but the priest continued to marry other Christian couples secretly. His refusal to repudiate Christianity and his cause to unite lovers with holy vows of matrimony landed him in prison, where he continued to preach his cause. During his incarceration, he struck up a friendship with the daughter of his jailer. He received notes from many of the couples he married and exchanged love letters of his own with the daughter. Legend states that on the day of his execution (February 14th, 269 A.D.), he left a final letter for his love and signed it "From your Valentine." The legend of Valentine grew in Italy and Europe and in 496 A.D. The priest was honored with sainthood and his day of martyrdom became a day for lovers to celebrate his work; www.ehow.com).” Because the origins of Valentine’s Day can certainly evoke some strong sentiments in people, causing them to over exaggerate preparation, spending, and celebration of this lovers’ day, students must be careful of falling victim to academic distraction when planning something special for their sweetheart.
Avoiding the Distractions
Plans for Valentine’s Day should not take precedent over studying for major tests, completing an out-of-class project (which might be due this week), finishing up financial aid or college admission applications, and studying for an approaching SAT or ACT test. Students should keep in mind that Valentine’s Day, although a beautiful day that should be celebrated by couples wishing to share their union with the world, is only one day that falls on a Thursday this year. Therefore, to avoid being pulled into the excitement of the day, here are a few tips students might want to use to get them through the distraction of Sweetheart’s Day.
Step 1: Get Into the Right Mindset
How you approach your studies has everything to do with how well you perform: If you're motivated and engaged you'll do far better than if you're simply going through the motions. So how do you find the 'right' mindset?
Set realistic goals.
Trying to overachieve can set you up for frustration and failure, but underachieving won't help you improve your grades. Identify goals that will be challenging but attainable, then stick with them. A few ideas for academic goals include finishing every reading assignment before class, pursuing extra credit assignments or keeping your grade point average above a certain level.
You have to want to do your best in order to succeed in school. This may be easy for the classes you love, but all of us have subjects that we find challenging or just plain boring.
Find ways to motivate yourself, whether it's an immediate reward like a social study break or a long term reward like buying that special something you've been eyeing. You can also enlist your parents to offer you rewards for achieving your academic goals.
Even the best of students get discouraged in school sometimes. Don't let a few difficult assignments or failed exams get you down - just identify what you still need to learn and forge on. Keeping those rewards in mind will help!
Step 2: Stay Organized
The secret to every straight-A student's success is organization, but this doesn't come naturally to most people. Here are a few ways you can organize your academic life:
Manage your time.
Get a physical or digital calendar (your computer probably comes with one) and use it to track your class schedule and important deadlines and organize your time. Make sure to allot time for studying and homework each day, which will help you complete all your assignments and still have time for chores, extracurricular activities and socializing.
Keeping your study space neat will help you concentrate and make it easier to find important textbooks and notes. This also applies to your notebooks and binders: Organize your notes by class and date in a system that you find intuitive and efficient.
Step 3: Develop Good Study Habits
Not only will the study habits you develop now improve your high school grades, they will carry you into college and beyond. Follow these basic tips and watch your work improve:
- Go to class regularly and on time.
- Review your readings and notes from the previous class before each session.
- Complete your assignments with enough time to review them before you turn them in.
- Tackle large projects like research papers in manageable increments.
- Study a little bit every day rather than cramming the night before a big exam or essay deadline (www.education-portal.com)
Practicing just a few of the suggestions in each step can help students escape some of the distractions that they experience during the spring semester. Because February is the shortest month of the spring semester and kicks off the semester of holiday fun with Valentine’s Day, students might be more prone to fall prey to distractions and academic sluggishness than any other month in the spring semester. Therefore, students might want to take heed to some of the suggestions above to maintain their stamina through the remainder of the semester, and as an educator of high school seniors, ensuring my seniors make it to the finish line in their caps and gowns this June is my ultimate goal; however, as an advocate for love and special occasions that celebrate people in love, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day!
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“High School Study Tips: Three Steps to Better Grades!” Retrieved February 10, 2013, from http://education-portal.com/articles/High_School_Study_Tips_Three_Steps_...
“Origins of Valentine’s Day.” Retrieved February 10, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/about_4759730_origin-valentines-day.html
“Senioritis: Avoiding the epidemic.” Retrieved February 10, 2013, from http://www.ecampustours.com/collegeplanning/insidetheclassroom/senioritis