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4th quarter choice: ‘Senioritis’ or grade salvation

Lindsey Stafford, a junior, shows the ‘work ethic’ that can occur in the fourth quarter. Photo by Bella Batula

Spring fever is fueling “Senioritis.”

Despite the staff’s wishes for Bruins to keep going strong during the fourth quarter, many students are unfocused because of their anticipation for summer. Both staff and students have noticed that the last quarter of the year brings out conflicting work habits.

“Students tend to get antsy this time of year and are sometimes a little more distractible,” said Principal Amy Besler. “On the flip side, many students are also highly motivated to improve their final grades and meet graduation requirements.”

“There are two changes that I notice,” said Counselor Bethany Williams. “For some students the fourth quarter brings on ‘burn out.’ Students and staff are ready for a break because the sun is starting to come out and it is really difficult to stay focused and finish strong. As for other students, they start to crank out the work to bring their grades up.”

“Many students already think that it is summer break,” said Raymond Rice, an English teacher. “It is tough for them to focus and more students than usual do not want to put in the effort. Sometimes the students give up or just stop trying. But, others, actually pull themselves together and end up finishing strong. That is what I encourage.”

“It’s nice school’s gonna be over for me,” said Damien Humpherys, a senior. “When you’re a senior you feel like ‘it’s my last year so I don’t need to do anything at all.’ Everyone is just ready for summer to start.”

“I’m ready for the fourth quarter,” said senior Valerie Lauver. “I’ve got a hang on everything after the first three quarters, not to mention the previous years. AP testing and senior projects are something I’m excited for, but I’m also excited for them to be over.”

“I’m tapping out,” said Cheyenne Cubic, a senior. “I’m excited because it’s almost over. It’s harder to do things because I’m uninterested. Everyone doesn’t care. Even underclassmen are like ‘eh I’ve put in all the work, it’s good enough.’”

“It makes me kind of excited to be done. I’m very excited for summer,” said senior Megan McShane. “I’m sure all the seniors want to be leaving pretty soon too, but it’s also kind of sad, mostly as a senior. As soon as you get into your first college there’s no other reason to be here. It’s just holding you until June.”

“I’m excited for the year to end,” said Sonora Slater, a freshman. “I have more energy for school work knowing it’s over soon.  A lot of people are ready for summer vacation. It’s close to the end of the year, but you’re still doing as much work.”

Students and staff described their challenges in the fourth quarter and how they overcome them.

“You’re not gonna get another chance to get your grades back up,” said Slater. “I know a lot of people don’t have the energy to keep their grades up. I like to make lists of what I need to do so I have a visual reminder and I do as much work as I can while I’m at school.”

“Oh yeah, ‘senioritis’ has been a problem all year,” said Cubic. “I’m going to a two-year so it doesn’t matter what grades I get. It’s just really hard to try to do any of my work knowing that I don’t need any of this at all. … I just kinda take it as it is.”

“I’m trying to attack ‘senioritis’ head on,” said Lauver. “Procrastination is a disease at the end of the year. Getting enough sleep is a challenge. Everyone could use a lot more sleep. People are studying or procrastinating studying, but mostly everyone is just trying to make it through the quarter.”

“I’m making sure I stay at a 3.0 GPA until the end of the quarter,” said Humpherys. “I have to get a B on everything, at the very least, in every class.”

“People are doing more fun stuff outside of school, so they lose their focus a lot more when it’s warm and you have other things to be doing instead of when it’s cold and you’re not doing anything,” said McShane. “You really gotta keep your stuff together and not all over the place.”

“The fourth quarter of a school year is a tremendously busy, important time, but it’s also a time when everyone starts counting down to summer and wants to enjoy the beautiful weather,” said Principal Besler. “We tend to have more difficulty during the fourth quarter with keeping students in class as the sunshine becomes more and more appealing. Staff manages this by maintaining high expectations and implementing creative means of instruction that will satisfy students’ desires to move about.”

“I would say the biggest challenge the fourth quarter as a counselor is balancing all of the various needs within 45 school days,” said Counselor Williams. “Students tend to need more support around college admissions, staying on track to graduate, building four-year plans and course selections and general overall support. While we are working with students, we are also planning for students for next school year. I manage all of this by sticking to my schedule and, of course, having an amazing team to work with.”

“Making sure that seniors are on path to graduate and making sure that the curriculum is covered is difficult,” said Mr. Rice. “I use extra hours at home to manage.”

Bruins students and staff expressed their final thoughts for the quarter.

“The fourth quarter can bring challenges and for many can bring celebrations,” said Counselor Williams. “It’s a time where we need to think about our Bruin Values: Integrity, Grit, Intellectual and Creative Curiosity, Empathy and Community.”

“We’re all trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives.” said Lauver. “Life is like a puzzle; I just hope I didn’t lose any of the pieces.”

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4th quarter choice: ‘Senioritis’ or grade salvation