Spring is a beautiful time of year. The sun is shining, the flowers are poking out, and the countdown until summer vacation officially begins. However, as the temperature gets higher, make sure your motivation doesn’t drop. Springtime should be a time of enthusiasm and renewed energy; think of an animal coming out of hibernation. All your excuses should melt away like the lingering snow and you should use this time to get on track before the school year officially ends. Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets and attics; it’s time to spring clean every aspect of your life and finish out the year strong.
1. Consolidate your class notes
If your backpack and locker look like a hurricane just passed through, it’s time to clean up and get organized. It’s a natural tendency to shove old notes and homework into a folder after the material has been tested and is over, but with many finals, it’s vital that you revisit old material. Go through your binders, notebooks, and folders and throw away all the junk, while keeping all of the important information. How do you know if something is important? Look back at your syllabi and see what will be tested on the final. You should also consider meeting with your teacher and asking about the content. This will show initiative, and ensure you are keeping the right materials.
Even if you don’t have a cumulative final, look through your materials to see what you will want to keep for next year. Your math notes may help you understand a difficult concept in the coming years, or the findings from your English lit paper may come in handy to reference in an upcoming class. Some of your work from high school may even help you learn during college courses.
2. Organize your summer schedule
During the springtime, it is essential to establish summer plans. Will you be taking classes over the summer to get ahead with your credits? This requires some early research on class availability and enrollment. Perhaps you will take classes at your high school or at a local community college. You may consider finding a tutor to help you prep for the ACT or SAT. Will you be participating in summer sports, building your teamwork and work ethic skills? This requires finding the teams you want to join ahead of time.
Perhaps you will be visiting colleges that you are interested in, meaning you should start creating your roadmap right now. Many colleges offer tours and official visit days, but you need to reserve space and be in contact with the university beforehand. Perhaps you will be building your resume by volunteering. If so, you will need to think about your passions and skills and find a gig that matches these, and then contact that place. Many places that accept volunteers require you complete an application, which may take several weeks to be filtered through, so the earlier you start, the better!
Another option is to secure a summer job or internship, to build your skills and potentially your bank account. Applying for both summer jobs and internships takes time, as most require applications, letters of recommendation, cover letters, resumes, and sometimes more. This process could take several weeks, if not months. If you want to secure a summer job, you need to start soon.
All of these options take planning, which needs to begin now. You should focus on organizing your summer schedule so you have the maximum amount of productivity, but don’t forget to schedule some relaxation in there as well. After all, you’ve earned it!
3. Clean up your attitude
Whether you are a freshman, a senior, or somewhere in between, everyone can catch a bit of senioritis as the school year winds down. But it’s time to change your attitude and reboot your motivation. Don’t let the last few weeks of school ruin a whole semester of hard work. With finals—whether they are tests, presentations, or projects—around the corner, this is no time to slack. And although you may want to spend your afternoons outside playing sports or relaxing by the pool, you must set aside time to study and finish your classwork. While countdown calendars until the last day of school can serve as motivation, don’t let them be an excuse to totally check out.
Brittany Phillips is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.