How to Make the Most of the Last Stretch of High School

At this point, you’re probably counting down the days to graduation. The final semester of high school is underway, college applications have been completed, and some of you may already know where you’re heading this fall.

You deserve to dial it back a bit, but it’s important to find a comfortable balance between relaxation and staying on top of academics. Doing so is the best way to make the most out of this last stretch. Here are three tips for finding (and maintaining!) that balance:

1. Keep yourself organized.

You’ve heard it time and time again, and for good reason. Staying organized is essential now and even more so in college, so start today and make a habit out of it.

Especially when laziness (affectionately known as senioritis) kicks in, it’s tough to motivate yourself to do that problem set or write that essay. One way to tackle larger assignments in particular is to create a schedule. Did your cruel English teacher assign a big paper due at the end of the term? Come up with a weekly or monthly plan, complete with deadlines and goals. For example, finish gathering research articles before spring break, or plan on starting the essay 2-3 weeks in advance so you have enough time to put together an impressive piece of work (while also accounting for the inevitable procrastination that will occur).

Organization is important even outside of academics. Oftentimes second-semester seniors find it difficult to motivate themselves to go to sports practice or show up to the local group where they volunteer, simply because they just don’t care anymore. Before you give up on extracurriculars entirely, you should know that you naturally manage your time better when you have more commitments. So, keeping a stacked schedule is actually a good thing if you want to get more done and stay organized!

2. Do it right this spring break. 

Yes, you heard us. Go have fun! This spring break will be your last vacation of your high school career, so make it a good one. It also comes at a perfect time—the halfway mark of the semester. Having something to look forward to, like a camping trip or cruise, is a great motivator to finish assignments beforehand so you don’t have worry about them during break. On the flipside, you’ll feel refreshed when you return from break, and graduation will be even closer!

3. Take up a new hobby. 

Or anything to keep your brain sharp, really. Getting into the habit of doing nothing is the worst thing you can do for yourself right now. Why? Because in college, you won’t be able to get away with being lazy, and you can trust us on that. Now is a good time to start a new hobby, especially since college applications are finally out of the way. Even though binge watching How I Met Your Mother sounds like an ideal hobby, try something like yoga or, if you’re the more creative type, try a cooking class! Once you get to college, these little quirks are great conversation starters, making the process of finding a group of friends that much easier.

The key to enjoying your last semester of high school is finding a balance between social life and academics that works for you, and practicing that balance so the transition from senior year to freshman year in college won’t be too harsh. This is undoubtedly an exciting time for you, so be sure to make the best of it!

Caroline Chang

About Caroline Chang

Originally from Chicago, Caroline made a home in sunny California to attend Occidental College, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, this accomplished student-athlete swam competitively all four years for the Division III Tigers, served as both the sports and copy editor for The Occidental Weekly, and completed multiple internships during her tenure. Caroline assists the marketing team in business development efforts as well as helping to maintain and grow ArborBridge’s presence online.

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