Lack of motivation makes second semester harder than first

March 28, 2019 — by Aaria Thomas

A black cursor blinks steadily on an empty page. I drum my fingers on the keyboard on my laptop and move up and down the page, staring at the title of the document, offhandedly labeled “English Essay.” Just staring at the words exhausts me. I close the document, telling myself I will write it later.

During second semester, getting through the mountains of work and the long hours of school becomes more challenging for me and many other students. Throughout first semester, most students put a greater amount of effort into their classwork and homework, but as students move into the second half of the school year, they leave at least some of their motivation behind. I could hardly bring myself to write this newspaper story.

First semester is easier to push through because everything seems still relatively new. The routines and schedules that people have are different from those of the previous school year. Starting new classes and seeing different people brings a fresh sense of excitement to the learning environment.

But second semester is a continuation of the same classes with the same people, following the same schedule and the same routine. Running through a cycle that students have already endured for 18 weeks can become extremely boring.

Going through the cycle again does mean that students are more prepared for effectively studying for tests and completing homework. While some students appreciate and take full advantage of the identical routines, many others find that the repetitiveness of the  schedule outweighs the appeal of using it to help themselves.

The lack of change in the school day as a whole, as well as they way individual classes are set up means the experience is dull and bland. Once school has lost its novelty, students become tired of it, which means there is little to drive students to participate in class or do any work.

Making matters worse, the level of difficulty in the courses often increases from first to second semester. Many teachers start to grade harder since they assume more competency on the part of their students, and as a result, the classwork and homework become more challenging to finish. Students are required to put more effort into school if they want to do well, but many students are burnt out from the previous semester’s grind.

The repetitiveness and increased difficulty of second-semester assignments also leads some students to procrastinate more. Students are aware that they need to complete their schoolwork to do well, but because they don’t want to or can’t bring themselves to do the work, they put it off.

Others who start on their work sooner take frequent breaks or lose their focus easily. When they try to force themselves to do an assignment they don’t feel like doing, it is easy for their minds to wander, and it takes more energy to do the work. Every five minutes, students stop and tell themselves they deserve some rest after the work they just did.

The monotony of second semester requires students to put more energy into focusing and completing assignments. This required extra effort discourages students from starting the work.

If teachers during second semester changed some aspects of their classes, it could excite and motivate students to do to the classwork. Students could also try new activities or rearrange their schedule to break the monotony of second semester and  make life more interesting. Adjustments made by both students and teachers would make second semester easier for everyone to get through.

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