OPINION: My experience with second semester blues


Kaelin Gaydos

Second semester tends to be more difficult than the first, with more tests and harder content in classes. Photo by Kaelin Gaydos

Kaelin Gaydos

I was thrilled about the start of the second semester. It’s a blank slate with new academic possibilities, and no failing grades (yet.) However, 2023 hasn’t started out quite as I hoped it would.

I walked into school the first day back after winter break with improved confidence and a passion to put everything I had into school and my grades this year. But coming back after two weeks away is draining, and has left me feeling exhausted. My goal was simple: go above and beyond right off the bat to get ahead.

But that didn’t materialize.

Although COVID-19 has been declared “over”, it still lingers. I tested positive during our second week back. I not only felt physically ill but also hopeless. It was a terrible way to start off the second semester, let alone the year as a whole. It left me so lethargic and miserable that even emailing my teachers to let them know I would be absent gave me a headache. I lay in bed for three days straight as assignments poured in from Google Classroom, unable to force myself into doing work even though I knew I would fall behind.

Luckily, I began to feel better after a few days and could start on the pile of work looming over me. I was fortunate enough to have a long weekend to try and catch up, but spent hours every day doing homework and got tired easily. After spending nearly a week stuck at home only seeing my family, I was desperate to go back to school.

Although I turned in much of my missing homework and made up several quizzes, I had to ask a few of my teachers for extensions on several assignments. Many of my assignments that had been checked off on my to-do list were replaced with new ones. It’s almost as though I was running on a never-ending hamster wheel. It has been overwhelming and at times; I’ve felt as though I will never get caught up.

Despite my circumstances, I know I’m not alone in having difficulty mustering the resolve to start the second semester off strong. For many other students as well, second semester is often considered the toughest part of the school year. Content in most classes starts to get tougher, AP and final exams get closer and many students, especially seniors getting close to the end of their high school career, are starting to get burnt out.

“I feel a lot more settled in and comfortable with managing my schedule and completing my work,” Brooke Reed (11, HSU) said.

“It feels even more exhausting to be honest,” Sophy Zhao (11, J&C) said.

Manual has a variety of resources to help students when they are struggling. There are opportunities for peer tutoring in the MAC lab and several teachers offer after-school help to students who need it. Although not everyone has access to libraries, there are several in Louisville that also provide a nice place to study, computers to use, books and online resources that may aid students’ studies.

Even with these resources, the work can pile up quickly. The best thing to do in this situation is to let your teachers know and explain your situation so they can provide help and try their best to minimize your stress. It helped me a lot and I haven’t felt as overwhelmed since several of my deadlines were extended. All students at Manual also have a designated counselor they can meet with if they need someone to talk to.

As AP and final exams are nearing, it is essential for students to prepare and make a study plan to fit their needs. Starting your studying several weeks in advance helps to balance exam preparation with other schoolwork. Staying organized and creating a schedule of when to study for which tests ensures that all topics are covered in time for testing. Students’ agendas have a place for this. 

The next few months may be stressful, but there are resources in and out of Manual that can help. It’s important to stay confident, persevere and keep up the hard work. Remember, you are worth more than just your GPA and test scores.