How were students successful last semester and how you can be successful this semester

Kimberly Ayson, Staff Writer

   As the 2020 fall semester began, there was a clear divide between students who were more accustomed to online learning and those who still needed to adapt. Though last semester may have been difficult for many students across all grade levels, a new semester brings an opportunity to adopt better study habits and develop systems of productivity for a successful spring semester.


   With the transition to a current online school semester and the stress of the pandemic on both school and personal lives, many students either struggled or thrived academically . 


   West Ranch sophomore Caden Lee expressed that “before every school day at night I would set the time scheduled for each time I should do everything and that helped me be more productive, but I was not always consistent. Online school is way easier to procrastinate now since we’re at home.” 


   A few general methods, from College for Adult Learning, to boost academic productivity include: 

  • Taking regular breaks to prevent fatigue and boost productivity 
  • Setting deadlines and boundaries for yourself by planning ahead to create deadlines for certain assignments will improve your time management and prevent any last minute studying
  • Eating healthfully contributes both to the activity of the brain as well as the immune system to bring up your energy to perform your best
  • Getting a moderate amount of sleep of at least eight hours allows for a break from the stress caused throughout the day and a means to take care of yourself and your mind for the days ahead


   Though these methods may not work for everyone, being mindful and catering to your preferred learning style will help in finding study and productivity methods that work for you to create healthy study habits. 


   Because schools are places primarily of education and learning for students, the focus on school work and academic ability may overwhelm students and can lead to neglect of their mental health. Some ways to help your mental health include talking to anybody that you are comfortable and safe around to release stress and anxiety. This goes the same for writing in a journal if you aren’t able to verbalize your thoughts. Writing them down would be easier for you to communicate how you are feeling. West Ranch senior Hannah Kim finds journaling to be helpful. “If I was stressed I would talk to my parents or friends. Or I write in a journal if it’s private stuff,” Kim said. 


   In regards to maintaining mental health, West Ranch’s Wellness Center Coordinator, Nancy Phillips explains, “I think if you can spend some time just sort of thinking about what makes you happy and who you are and sort of be present in a moment or two everyday may clarify what would be best for you as far as taking care of yourself and looking at your mental health.”


   Your ability to manage your time for not only your school life but your personal life for things such as free time is an important skill. Being able to regulate a schedule for any day and situation varies from person to person and what may work for some students may not be the best fit for you. 


   West Ranch sophomore Emerson Nathan explains his routine setup that has allowed him to improve balancing homework and rest: “I wake up at 6:30 every day and I take a warm shower. I do my homework around 4 or 5 then I just have time to myself [after that].” Creating a schedule is customizable and varies within everybody but isn’t the only option for those looking to organize their time.  


   A few ways to balance your school and personal life, from Community Based Education and Development college include: 

  • Tracking your time. Creating a to-do list everyday and writing down things you want to and are able to accomplish every day either in a journal, whiteboard, a piece of paper, or even a typed list could help with tracking where you are in completing assignments and what still needs to be done.
  • Using a planner to plan your life in a broader sense may help you see how your month(s) will look like instead of living your schedule day by day 


   John Hopkins University also expresses that awareness of your health and stress level, though a motivational tool, could be detrimental to our health if out of control. Too much stress leads to a flurry of problems mentally and physically. Time management and stress control is a skill that requires a lot of self-reflection into how you spend your time and take care of yourself. 


   As the second semester begins, the way to the finish line is made up of  online classes, upcoming AP tests, quizzes, finals, and a ton of homework. With this hectic schedule, learning to balance and separate your free time and school work hasn’t been an easy feat for students to accomplish, as it affects both your mental health and academic performance. Learning from what you accomplished from last semester and what you could improve on for this semester is about the trial and error of trying new ways to succeed in all aspects of your daily life.