First Semester Closes


High school can be a stressful time for students and teachers. 

As the first semester comes to an end in the last week of January, many are feeling the pressure of getting assignments in and keeping their grades up. 

Hours of studying pile up along with the stacks of reviews students complete to refresh their memory. Many students are using notecards and going through old work, highlighting what is important. 

The most impactful learning strategy is known as “distributed practice,” which is spacing out studying over several short periods of time over several days or even weeks.

Review packets help a ton as a form of review, but teachers tend to not give them soon enough. Students need longer than a week to prepare. 

According to the University of North Carolina, not all studying is equal, and you will accomplish more if you study intently. It is best to stray away from only scanning over notes. 

Various students believe studying does the opposite of helping them, as it causes them to overthink when the time to take a test is upon them. 

However, how well one does on a final exam contributes heavily to the concluding grade one receives in that class. The grade given at the end of 18 weeks determines the number of points put toward a grade point average (GPA), commonly looked at by colleges. 

Finals week at Lakeland High School may look slightly different than at other high schools. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are potentially eligible to skip a single final if they have received a 3.33 in the previous semester, while to waive two exams, one needs a 3.7.

Certain students find the opportunity to waive the exams unfair, as it does not apply to everyone in LHS. (if you transfer at the end of the year, you can skip) Although, those who avoid taking all six tests think of it as a good way to be rewarded for the hard work they have shown in the classroom. 

“I get to waive my health final this year. I earned my grade in that class, and I deserve that. In the end, it is just one less thing I have to study for,” Williams said. 

Finals can also be extremely difficult for student-athletes. While participating in a winter sport, expectations are to balance after-school practices with time left over to study and complete homework.

“It is more stressful,” Dreyden Smith said. “It feels like there is more on the line because sports and grades can kind of collide with each other.”

Ohio State University sheds light on the fact that high amounts of stress can result from school and sports. Participation in sports is not necessarily the answer, as they can be both “beneficial and disadvantageous.”  

Preparation for the week can completely throw off one routine they have worked hard to perfect all year. Endless nights of studying can impact the time needed to get a good night’s rest, leading to an eternal five days.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention explains that when between the ages of 13-18, it is healthy to get 8-10 hours of sleep in 24 hours. 

Some at Lakeland have never experienced a test of such importance before. Those included in the freshmen class have never experienced a high school finals week, causing it to feel even more strenuous. 

Along with teenagers, finals week has just as much of a grasp on educators. 

“I have more time to plan, and it has not really disrupted my structure yet. I think having Battle for the Paddle last week brought up a distraction for a lot of students and caused some panic this week, so I am allowing them to mainly review on their own,” science teacher, Keara Schaffer said.

The Eagle Eye mentions how teachers must do everything from preparing for every exam to ensuring their students are prepared. In the end, they are expected to grade hundreds of exams and enter every grade.

Luckily, many finals are digital and calculate the grades automatically. Although, teachers at Lakeland who have to grade paper tests will likely have over a hundred they are expected to submit. 

Knowing that a few days can easily affect how you have performed for five months is unsettling. “Finals week makes it feel like all year has led up to this one moment,” sophomore, Ruby McIntosh said.

Students are using studying as a way to take some of the stress away, along with constantly making sure all their assignments have been completed and turned in. 

The best way to reduce stress during a rough week is to take a break and get active. When returning after a rest, the brain is able to focus more, and you will feel less stressed. Getting quality sleep is of high importance in these situations. 

Finals will take place on the 25th and 26th of this week, and there is no school this Friday.