A case of “sophomore-itis”?

Fourth Formers play Frisbee during a mask break – Jeffrey Yang ’22

As we enter the final stretch of the year, it is customary, though not condoned, for Sixth Formers to cruise to the finish in a laid-back mindset. For underclassmen though, in previous years, this month of school has been all but the cruising zone; it is a hasty hike to learn the remaining curriculum with finals looming on the horizon. 

But many underclassmen, including Fourth Former Jack Suter, have derailed from this pattern.

“I’m just not motivated to do school work now. My procrastination levels have gone up.  I wished it was summer already; I’m looking forward to going sailing,” Suter said. 

Even though this quarter is his “easier” one, he finds it harder to get started on homework and to stay focused. 

“Everything takes more effort than it used to,” Suter said, “but it’s not like [the homework is] really hard.”

Suter and other students pin the decreased enthusiasm during this May on the schedule. The quarter schedule has created a situation where students are returning to one-half of their classes from earlier in the year and have already finished the other half of their classes. 

“I’m just tired of having the same daily routine: I have the same classes, the same type of homework, and everything is feeling monotonous,” he said. 

Last year, each day presented a more varied collection of classes with different period durations. As a result, the amount of homework also fluctuated. This year, since every class is the same duration every day, students already expect what their night will be like in terms of completing assignments.

“I guess there’s less excitement too because I’ve done the same amount of work every night,” Suter said, “and nothing’s really new.”

Nothing fresh after three quarters has finally boiled up into this final month of restless inactivity for many: the desire to do well is still present, but the grind has halted with the end of classes in the previous quarter. 

Suter said, “It felt like the year was over a few months ago, so this last quarter has been even more difficult. The year feels longer, and doing the same things every day really has not helped.” 

Checked out and more ready for summer than ever, some underclassmen are eyeing the upcoming final projects—which, for many classes, are replacing final exams—with concern.

“I think it’s going to get harder in the next few weeks; things are going to ramp up,” Suter said. 

“I just want to get outside, also because the COVID situation is getting better, and we haven’t been able to go anywhere for the past year.”

Jack Suter ’23

But, with the weather getting warmer, staying inside to work on projects seems less and less appealing. For final projects, the responsibility to do work in manageable increments is more in the student’s control than an exam where teachers often assign required study assignments or review in class. Further, with COVID restrictions easing and vaccines being distributed, students’ eagerness to go out is reaching a breaking point. 

Suter said, “I just want to get outside, also because the COVID situation is getting better, and we haven’t been able to go anywhere for the past year.”

Yet, the stakes with final projects are still high, and underclassmen recognize them. Despite the lack of eagerness for homework, students are still looking to finish strong—just with the thought of summer pervading their minds. 

“I just want to have a nice run at the end, going into the summer,” Suter said, “I’m just ready for the year to be over.”

Author: Jeffrey Yang '22

Managing editor Jeffrey Yang has written for The Index since 2018. He previously served as news editor. His feature "Fords immigrants under the spotlight: Mr. Kan's citizenship odyssey" earned a Gold Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards.