Setbacks in motivation plague the students of FHC

Burnout. An illustrious shadow hiding behind many FHC students’ school personas.

Like an old friend, it comes back around again and again, though each time different from the last. For some, it shows up in the form of the typical lack of motivation. For others—such as many of the FHC seniors—it appears more informally.

Senior Maggie Zorn is experiencing ‘senioritis,’ and it is not just her. For many seniors, already being accepted into college causes a loss in incentive to keep up good grades and school attendance.

“Because I’m a senior and I want senior exemption, I have to come to school—I can’t not come to school,” Maggie said. “It’s just a lot harder to want to do things, to work hard, and get your work done—even though it’s still important. But it doesn’t really feel like that since we’ve already gotten into college.”

This problem seems to have been exacerbated by the new exam schedule. Now that the second semester is noticeably longer than first, the anticipation of graduation is now coming sooner and in a stronger form than it ever has in past years. 

“It’s really hard,” Maggie said, “especially since the first semester ended earlier so the second semester just feels like forever. I know [the seniors] are getting out in May, but May feels really far away and we aren’t even close to Spring Break. And it doesn’t help that we are only getting one break [before Spring Break], and we already had it.”

I know [the seniors] are getting out in May, but May feels really far away and we aren’t even close to Spring Break. And it doesn’t help that we are only getting one break [before Spring Break] and we already had it.”

Second semester’s length is not only an issue for seniors. Many underclassmen now have a longer period of time to watch the clock as the seconds continue to tick by until summer vacation. 

Sophomore Jack Ward is also expecting to see a decrease in his quality of work as well as motivation, but it’s not because of the addition of days to the second half of his school year. In his experience, he loses his desire to try his best simply because of his interest in his classes.

“[I experience burnout] if I’m in a class that’s always super repetitive,” Jack admits. “Like, [for example], if we are always doing equations in math or if we are always doing sentence types in English. I can get bored always doing the same stuff.”

Although Jack doesn’t believe the longer second semester to be as taxing as others, he—like Maggie—also believes there should be a longer Mid-Winter Break to make the time from now to Spring Break a little more bearable.

“I think having a Mid-Winter Break to split-up between actual Winter Break and Spring Break would help,” Jack said. “I actually think a lot of schools are doing that now and within the next week. But we don’t have that, and I think it would be a good chance for people to relax.”  

However, Jack luckily gets a few extra breaks in between now and the end of the school year thanks to the scheduling at KCTC, but it can also add to his stress on the other hand as well. 

“Because [of KCTC’s scheduling] I have next week Monday and Tuesday off so I don’t have to be here until third-hour starts,” Jack said. “[That] means I can sleep in or get food, which is all nice. But in most other ways, it kinda sucks because it can just become a scheduling hassle.”

For students who have scheduling differences between the two parts of the school year and enjoy their first semester classes more than their second, this new schedule can cause resentment in the rush to fit the material into the curriculum featured on the midterms. 

Students who either aren’t as passionate about their classes in the second semester, or are signed up for harder ones, are not going to be able to put in the necessary amount of effort into their work because the days off are just too few and far between.

Along with both Maggie and Jack, junior Isabel Openheizen also believes that the second semester is just too long. Although she is able to appreciate the benefits from the move of exams prior to Winter Break, she still resents the workload that is brought on by her second semester classes.

“At this point, we don’t really have anything to look forward to,” Isabel admits. “People don’t really see a point in working or don’t show up [to school].”

The second semester is also making more time for more work. While some students felt rushed because of how much less time they had until midterms from the beginning of the year, others argue that second semester’s length is going to give teachers an excuse to load them up with extra work that couldn’t be fit into the first. 

“More teachers are going to be putting more on us second semester,” Isabell said, “and I’m just so exhausted from the amount of workload I’ve received.”