Yet another school year is winding down, with many students on the verge of graduation from high school looking to preserve their grade averages. It’s necessary to preserve those important acceptances into post-secondary education. In Ontario, some Grade 12ers are scrambling to complete the mandatory 40 volunteer hours that they ought to have accumulated a while ago. They can’t graduate without their ’40 hours’.
It’s a frenetic time and pace, to be sure, in many ways for quite a number of students.
This time of year is occasionally referred to as ‘lame duck school days’ (after that phrase that is applied to an American president near the end of his (or her, please!) second term). Such a label can create a mindset that in turn can cause problems and unforeseen disappointment. It’s easy to lay back and put your mind at ease, even into ‘neutral’. But, don’t be fooled, and don’t fool yourself.
The ‘finish line’ in a race is just as important, and likely more so, than the ‘starting line’. Just remember the ‘tortoise and the hare’, and think of the late upsets and startling outcomes, simply because some ‘let up’ or, if you will, ‘let someone down’, including yourself.
Are there ways to head this off? Yes, mostly common sense ways. Let’s start with keeping to a healthy routine, presumably that which you’ve been following all year (if not, and if it’s not too late, maybe it’s time to start, or at least look to the next school year). The major threat to a healthy routine is distraction and impulsive scheduling (see my earlier blog ‘Let ‘Scheduling’ Set You FREE!’). The latter disrupts sleep, body rhythms, and study habits. A bad combo. Next, maintain priorities, and your first priority is performance in class, and not ‘the prom’. Performance entails concentration and being applied, but, of course, we already know that.
One more thing. Pace yourself and your mind. ‘Running out of gas’ just before you’re about to ‘grab the brass ring’ would be an unforgettable set back. If you have exams, working up to the examination dates is both a matter of preparation and mindset. The ‘butterflies’ will be there, but let them work for you, not against you. Should you experience pre-exam anxiety (I did, once, breaking out in hives), seek help. There are ways to offset the jitters without compromising performance.
Remember that Book Smart Tutors is available through the summer break for remedial teaching, plus as a resource to prep for next year (especially get ready for the upper grades), We are able to build valuable skills and anticipate curriculum requirements, with the advantage that a tutor mainly teaches one-on-one, with specific and personal attention. An investment of this kind can yield big returns.
A ‘shout out’ to those I’ve tutored since late last August: Thank you for the privilege. To all graduating: Fare thee well. To those finishing one grade (but not looking too soon to the next!): Enjoy, and try not to idle yourself into boredom over the summer holidays (job? volunteering?). See you in September!
(Robert MacFarlane is a graduate of Princeton University, and he has tutored mainly English with Book Smart Tutors for several years. Over June, July, and August, he will be rehearsing and performing in a summer stock Canadian play, ‘Cake Walk’.)