Success in the Slump

The winter season can be a tough time for everybody. However, there are things you can do to lessen the stress.


Reid Holdman, The Review Guy

When asking around, most high schoolers will say that the third quarter is, without a doubt, the hardest part of the year. Everyone has been cooped up indoors all winter, some students pick up jobs, a new semester is kicking into high gear, and the homework load just doesn’t seem to be getting any lighter. During this time, many students can find it hard to find the motivation that is needed for getting out of bed in the morning.

Sophomore Macy Kopp, in all four advanced core classes, experienced the typical effects of this “third quarter slump.”

“When third quarter rolls around, all that momentum I had from the first semester is lost and I have to focus on still keeping up with my grades,” Kopp said. “I start to not care as much about my grades and not prioritize my schoolwork. I get distracted pretty easily.”

This situation is fairly familiar to nearly every high school student. Coming back from Christmas Break, which is more or less a little slice of summer vacation over the holidays, can be ridiculously tough to adjust to. This is especially true for those with what can only be described as less than prudent work habits. Procrastinators are prime victims of the Slump, and Kopp knows this as well.

“As soon as I get home, I focus on schoolwork and do my best to not procrastinate because everything will pile up if I don’t do it right away,” Kopp said. “By finishing quicker, I have more time to relax and give undivided attention to other priorities in my life so that I’m not constantly thinking about the schoolwork I have left to do.”

So much of the stress from a rigorous workload comes from deadlines, so if one eliminates that last-minute scramble, students may find it much easier to manage. 

In addition to a solid work ethic, a positive mindset is key to beating the third quarter stress during these cold winter months. 

“Take school and life day by day,” Kopp said. “Give the best that you can give for the day no matter what that may be, and don’t look back or beat yourself up about it afterward. Tomorrow is a new day.”

Kopp made an excellent point here. So much of that overwhelming stress is induced by looking at the big picture, not necessarily each day on its own. For instance, stressing out about a test in the first hour, when it takes place tomorrow, can only be detrimental to a positive mindset.

Karmyn Bartels, a senior known among her friends as incredibly optimistic, feels that the only true way to succeed and beat the third quarter slump is a positive outlook.

“I always look for the positive aspect of every situation,” Bartels said. “When I find myself becoming stressed or wanting to complain about an assignment or test, I try and look for the positive.”

Friends are just as important. If everyone is stressed, then nobody will have much of a shot at getting through third quarter with little stress. However, if a student surrounds him or herself with positive people, there’s a decent chance they’ll be better at keeping a low-stress mindset in place.

“I find that when I lift myself up, and surround myself with people who help lift me up as well, then it is easier to have a positive attitude because you are enjoying life more,” Bartels said.

Even if you surround yourself with positive people and attempt to keep a low-stress mindset, it’s incredibly easy to put a little too much on your plate. Sophomore Matthew Mays, a student taking three of the four advanced core classes as well as AP Seminar, finds that taking on too much at once can be detrimental to a healthy frame of mind.

“The 3rd quarter slump makes me care significantly less about all things school,” Mays said. “I solve it by getting a bit of rest and not filling my time too terribly much till 4th quarter rolls around.”

It’s important to sort out your responsibilities first, making sure that each one has a solid amount of time allotted. When work comes first and play comes second, it’s much easier to manage a heavy workload. Until homework and extracurriculars lighten up, it’s best to not have too much happening. 

With that said, don’t make the mistake of never relaxing. Mays feels that relaxation is just as necessary as handling work.

“You want to make little things to look forward to since the only breaks we get are weekends and snow days,” Mays said. “Maybe go to the movies with some friends one weekend, or take a day to hang out at home.”

If you’re able to balance out work and play, make time to hang out with some good friends, and keep a positive mindset, you’ll have the Slump beat in no time.