Balancing schoolwork under the sun

Graphic: Hsihsin Liu

Graphic: Hsihsin Liu

As I sit at my desk working on homework, I can feel a slight breeze and warm sunlight from outside my window. It almost seems like a cruel coincidence that AP season happens to fall at the same time as spring—could the College Board have chosen a worse time to administer tests? The weather is warm, yet not too hot—perfect for going out to town with friends or simply relaxing on the Battlefield. The warm weather marks the final stretch of school, changing summer from an abstract concept to something within actual reach. Still the workload is never-ending. Not only is there homework, there are APs, tests, and even finals to prepare for that—just like the side mirrors on cars say—“are closer than they appear.” It’s hard to fight the inverse relationship between the temperature and productivity, especially during this time. There are times when I know I have work to do, but I go out anyway because the day is just too beautiful—I can finally wear sandals! I end up having to stay awake until the early hours of the morning to finish my work, and the same day at school I am engaged in a struggle to keep my eyes open. As easy as it is to say, “Oh, I should study today instead of going out” we aren’t robots, and the temptation starts to settle in.

The effects of the warm weather can be felt throughout the school. Not only do the classrooms reach extreme ranges of heat, the signs are evident in students: shortening attention spans and a sharp decline in motivation (for those that have managed to maintain theirs). It’s hard to push through the final stretch, and the workload seems impossible. Yet it’s important for students to remember that it is the final stretch: in a race, the last stretch is a time to use every last bit of energy remaining. You might feel like you’re dying, but you know that if you just pick up the pace, the end will come sooner.

As much as we wish we could, we can’t just abandon our textbooks and go outside. There’s too much on the line—we are reminded daily of applying to colleges. Yet when we sit down to work, there is still the feeling of regret, as opposed to accomplishment. Our desks begin to feel like prisons. Often, even if we don’t end up going out, we can feel the quality of our work decline, and a part of us is full of longing and regret. Our minds tend to drift off into other places, completely forgetting the pile of work in front of us.

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