The Oracle

Semester brings Stress

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Sophomores Katie Orchard and Amy Herrema watch a track meet while thinking of all the homework they have to do.

Sophomores Katie Orchard and Amy Herrema watch a track meet while thinking of all the homework they have to do.

Helen Heaton

Helen Heaton

Sophomores Katie Orchard and Amy Herrema watch a track meet while thinking of all the homework they have to do.

Helen Heaton, Managing Editor

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It can now be said: the school year is more than halfway over. But before juniors start testing the sound of “senior,” there are still four-and-a-half months to push through.
It’s undeniably difficult to do so—especially since, for many students, the end of the first semester was a difficult period of both hard work and reflection.
That was certainly true for sophomores Katie Orchard and Amy Herrema, who were forced to balance final assignments with make-up work after missing school for track meets.
“I think I find [the end of the quarter] very stressful because all my teachers always assign a bunch of tests and projects, and it’s hard to keep up with all the school we also miss for track,” said Herrema. Her end-of-semester assignments included the infamous National History Day project (NHD).
Orchard faced the same situation and was also disappointed to leave second quarter for third.
“Second quarter is my favorite because it has winter break and all that stuff to look forward to,” Orchard said, “but third quarter has no days off, and then also we’re getting closer to AP tests and [have to] study and actually practice for those.”
AP exams are a common concern among Spartans faced with the relentless march of time. Junior Rachel Gates found that taking many APs necessitated a different outlook on the end of the semester.
“With other classes that aren’t APs, you know you have until the end of the second semester, where with APs you know you only have really about to the middle,” Gates said. “And so to think, ‘oh, halfway through the year,’ but you know you’re a lot closer to AP exams than you are to final exams—kind of stressful.”
Despite the stress, however, Gates did appreciate the fresh start offered by the beginning of a new quarter.
“I feel like this time around, it’s a little more difficult because we’ve had so many snow days, and so I feel like I’m short on time, but most of the time I like the end of the quarter because it’s kind of that I can start again and kind of get a clean slate,” Gates said, “I know that if I didn’t do well one quarter, I can do better the next quarter.”
Fellow junior Molly Sharman was also more than ready for the start of third quarter, but was saddened by the moment’s significance in the broader timeline of her high school career.
“To me, high school has already gone by so fast,” Sharman said. “I can’t believe I have one-and-a-half years left. I’m onto my second semester of junior year—it scares me, because I enjoy high school.”
While students may be alarmed by the end of the first semester for a variety of reasons, for teachers, the accompanying teacher work days provide valuable time needed to straighten their affairs.
“I usually grade, make sure everything is finalized, double check everything—and that’s basically it. Make sure everything is correct,” said physics teacher John Jones.
Yet despite the flurry of activity around the quarter’s end, and even wistful reflection about the fleeting nature of high school, there remains a bright spot glowing in the distance.
“I am looking forward to [the end of the semester], mostly because it means we’re closer to summer,” said Herrema.

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Semester brings Stress