Five Tips to Finish Your Semester Off Strong


There are only seven weeks left of the first semester and twenty-five weeks left of school. Time is running out to keep those grades high—or to turn them into high grades. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your grades stay (or become) adequate.

  1. Take advantage of Office Hours.

If you have time before school, why not go to Office Hours? Each teacher has two days set aside to help students get caught up, make up work, get the tutoring they need, and ultimately succeed. However, if neither day the teacher has works for you, you can talk to him or her beforehand to reserve a different day. Caleb Doolittle, a senior, states, “I personally try to go to every office hour session I can. I mostly use the time to do work for various classes and for college applications, as the lunchroom can be too hectic to work well.” It’s a great use of your time, and teachers do not mind helping students that are making a valid effort to help themselves.

  1. Talk to your teachers.

A teacher’s job is to educate a student to help him or her succeed. If something is going on in your life or if you just need someone to talk to, teachers will take the time to talk to you and work out a plan that ensures you get the help you need. Sick and dealing with doctors? Tell a teacher. Family problems at home making homework difficult? Tell a teacher. Working overtime to help your family get by? Tell a teacher. Teachers want you to succeed, and by talking to them, they can help you achieve all the goals necessary to get that diploma. If you don’t want to talk to a teacher, talk to a counselor! Several staff members in the building are more than happy to help you, but only if you let them know.

  1. Don’t procrastinate.

I know that for some people, this is like telling a dog not to bark. However, procrastinating is a bad habit, and by dropping it early, it will make your college or work experience so much easier. Use logic to persuade yourself why your homework is more important than your Snapchat notification. Reward yourself for every three chapters you read. Tell yourself that for every hour of studying, you can get fifteen minutes of Instagram. It’s all about delayed gratification—it’s better to resist the temptation and wait for a better reward than to accept an immediate reward.  Plus, procrastinating results in stress to get it all done in time, and your work will simply be mediocre instead of exceptional. Audrey Donoho, a senior, says, “My first few years of high school, I procrastinated, and it brought my G.P.A. down, and it was really difficult to bring it back up. So moral of the story…don’t procrastinate because you probably won’t get it done.” Speaking of not getting work done and turned in…

  1. Turn in your work.

I cannot stress to you how important this is! For many students, mediocre grades are the result of not turning in assignments, not because each individual grade is bad. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s better to turn the work in rather than stashing it in your book bag until the end of time. A 50 is still better than a 0. Another point is that if you do hold onto it, it may be misplaced, and you have to hope and pray there’s an extra copy for you to snag. The moral of the story is to turn in your work. It’s much better than the alternative, and anything counts.

  1. Surround yourself with a good friend group.

You may think for yourself, but you act like your friends. Whatever group you’re around, you tend to conform to them. As a result, if you hang out with students who don’t turn in their work, don’t care about their grades, and don’t make an effort in class, it’s likely that you won’t either. It also contributes to unnecessary stress in your life, and school can already be stressful enough without the excess drama. Hinal Patel, a senior, states, “A good friend group can affect you in so many ways. I used to be around very negative people that would only talk about drama, and at some point, it feels very draining. I’ve noticed that since I’ve had a positive friend group, my everyday life is more positive. […] [These positive people in my life] help reduce stress by sending good vibes my way. Stress can hold you back, so letting go will keep me moving forward in my life.” Without the unnecessary drama and stress, your high school career will be much better for you. If you choose to be with friends that make good decisions regarding their education, they will make a good impact on you.

With the days counting down, it is imperative that your grades are up to standard. This is especially true for the seniors, who need to pass their classes in order to graduate. However, even if you aren’t a senior, colleges are still looking at your grades to determine whether or not they want you. If you want to go to your dream school—whether that’s UGA or Georgia Tech—or if you want a good job—whether as a mechanic or a hairdresser, they look at your productivity and your skills, and your grades are a good indicator.  Even though November is just around the corner, it’s never too late to change your effort and motivation. Make sure you finish this semester off strong!