How to Survive the Last Month of School

By Piper Goeking

Every student feels the fatigue at this time of the school year.  Freshmen are itching to inch up the pecking order to the upper end of lowerclassmen status.  Sophomores daydream of fully exercising their newly found freedom behind the wheel of a car.  Juniors look for reprieve after grueling exams and constant talk of the future. Senioritis has long infected the graduating class.  Members of all grades want to be free of block schedules, homework, and early morning alarms.  After June 9, we will be liberated from these burdens, but now the annual question presents itself: will we survive until then, and if so, how?

As students, we spend about seven hours a day, five days a week, sitting indoors.  This often makes one feel sluggish and unmotivated, the latter being especially problematic as finals draw nearer.  An easy way to feel mentally and physically better is to simply go outside.  “Spending outside outdoors generally makes people happier,” according to the Harvard Health Publications’ article “Spending Time Outdoors is Good for You”. “Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually mor
e light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles.  Average concentration levels also improve. Children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors […] if you have trouble concentrating, outdoor activity may help.”  Simple things such as walking to lunch instead of driving or taking a quick walk around your neighborhood are easy ways to squeeze some fresh air into a busy schedule.

Another key to final month survival is sleep.  According to kidshealth.org, teenagers should be getting eight and a half to nine hours of sleep per night.  Getting those hours is a critical in order to succeed in the classroom, as the more sleep you get, the more you’ll be able to focus the following day.  It’s arguable that sleep is even more important outside of the classroom, as “Lack of sleep is linked to emotional troubles, such as feelings of sadness and depression.”  It’s common for classmates to discuss how many hours of sleep they did, or in many cases didn’t, get the night before.  It is equally common for at least one student involved in that conversation to share that they got four hours of sleep the night before, while another might say that they were lucky to get to bed by 11 PM.  Especially in these moments, it’s crucial to listen to your body.  Don’t feel that you’re a less able human being or more of a slacker if you aren’t pulling all nighters or drowning yourself in coffee.  Your health comes first.  If you manage your health well, then with a little effort and planning everything else will fall into place.

As the
“Parks and Rec” dynamic duo Donna and Tom often said, “Treat yo self”.  The last month of school is a pressure cooker.  To find that last push inside of you to keep getting out of bed and trying your best, it’s helpful to take breaks from work to do do something you enjoy.  According to a study by Professor Emily Hunter of the Baylor University, breaks are most  effective and re-energizing if workers spend the time doing something they enjoy.  “Unlike cell phones that run optimally until their batteries die, people have to charge more frequently before we deplete all the way,” explained Hunter in Health.com article, “Why taking a Break Makes You a Better Employee”.  Netflix binging, getting your nails done, reading a good book, playing video games, or hanging out with friends shouldn’t be seen as distractions from school, but rather time outs in the middle of an intense sports match.           

The final step of survival is to live in the moment.  It’s true that it’s cliche, but it is also true that high school happens only once.  While you’re here, enjoy it. When you answer a question incorrectly, remember you’re lucky enough to be in an environment where messing up is a prime way to learn.  When you spend fifteen minutes looking for a parking spot after lunch, be glad you got to spend time with friends and classmates before you go your separate ways.  When you feel the deep burn in your thighs as you trudge up after the Keyser stairs, catch your breath and let yourself smile when you get to the top.