My plan for second-semester GPA success: Start studying during winter break

December 13, 2022 — by George Hu
Photo by George Hu
I study at my desk during breaks, preparing myself for upcoming coursework.
Previewing second semester course material during the upcoming winter break will help me experience less academic stress and more relaxation.

I know I am not alone in wishing that I had done better in some of my classes during this current semester. Like most of my peers, I have chosen a rigorous schedule that turned out to be extremely difficult to handle. My load includes two AP courses and one Honors course.

To boost my grade point average, I plan to preview the second semester course material of my difficult courses during the upcoming winter break. Here’s my plan.

For the courses that I struggled the most during this semester, I will preview the material of them by finding identical free online courses, especially those from edX and Khan Academy. The instructors of those online courses will guide me and help me obtain a better understanding of the subject. To make sure the online courses match the second semester course material, I will look at Canvas to see if the teachers of my difficult classes have posted any second semester calendars. 

If the second semester calendars are not available, I will ask my teachers for an outline of that semester. This is reliable because most of my teachers will be willing to help me attempt to get ahead and will be happy with the effort that I have displayed. 

Consequently, I will create better relationships with my teachers, which will make it more likely for me to get an adequate grade in the upcoming semester. In the unlikely case of the teacher refusing to provide a second semester calendar, I plan to do some online research to confirm that a similar online course schedule matches. If they do not match, I will use the course’s textbook to study for the second semester.

Unfortunately for me, some of the difficult courses that I am taking, specifically English 11 Honors, do not have textbooks. In this scenario, I will ask my peers to find out which books the course will cover over the course of the second semester. After that, during the winter break, I will read those books and annotate them, which will help me gain a good understanding of the books. I just need to make sure to show my lovely annotations to my English teacher after school resumes to become my teacher’s favorite student.

Although completing the task of previewing second semester course material leads to less time to relax for me, doing this task will make the second semester less stressful and more enjoyable for me, as it will make it easier for me to achieve better grades in my difficult classes. Not only that, but also with classes being easier, I will have more time available to hang out with friends. I might be able to go to my friend’s house immediately after school to play Minecraft and Clash Royale regularly and still obtain straight A’s.

While previewing during winter break, I need to remember that I will not be graded on it at the moment, which will make this task far less stressful than a challenging semester for me. Thus, I will still have a relaxing winter break, as I will not be studying all day and will still have opportunities to do fun tasks such as hanging out with my friends.

I am worried that if I do not spend their break in this way, I will find that second semester homework is incredibly challenging and time consuming, causing me to potentially sacrifice hours of sleep to get homework turned in on time. 

No matter what I want to do during this winter break, I should definitely put forth some of my free time toward preparing for the second semester and I will not regret doing it.

It may sound depressing to not be sitting on a ski lift chair at Lake Tahoe with a family member or a friend, but all in all, I’ve realized I will be happier if I work harder in the short term and do better in the long term.

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