Kristi Wolf: Staying focused during spring break

04/30/2011 12:47 AM

04/30/2011 1:05 AM

Buhach Colony High School is the only high school in the Merced Union High School District on block scheduling.

Block scheduling is similar to the way colleges are set up -- semester to semester. Block scheduling means that in August when classes start, students are enrolled in four classes.

Students have a longer amount of time in the classroom, but they finish those four courses in December before they leave on winter break.

When school starts back up in January, students have four different classes that they will finish in early June when they break for summer.

When I was in high school at Merced High School, block scheduling was not in the cards. There are obviously pros and cons to this method in high school. One pro I see is that the students are going to be prepared for college.

Students in college live their lives in this cycle. I have found this to be true for myself.

Our semesters at Merced College are 18-week semesters. As a student, my life seems to revolve around these 18 weeks and it seems to be the same way for my fellow students.

I think in some ways it helps us to stay focused on our goals. Where is this journey taking us? That journey is different for each student.

Sometimes staying focused is difficult, especially when spring break rolls around.

For Merced College spring break fell the week before Easter. The weather at this time is generally pretty nice, but this year, April was cool and drizzly, at least in Merced.

I know most students typically do not hang out around home during spring break and Merced College students are no different. Others like me maybe had to work or have family obligations.

I am not as young as I used to be and honestly was never that much into the party scene, so spring break for me just means that it is very quiet in my office.

I had goals set for myself for this week.

I was going to get ahead on my math homework so I could focus on review and study for the final during May. I met that first goal.

My second goal was to get my final essay completed for philosophy. I met that second goal.

My third goal was to get my part of the philosophy team debate ready. I met that third goal.

I struggled meeting these goals, however. The weather was not great; it was quiet at work; I took one vacation day and had a holiday, too, amounting to a four-day weekend, so I am not sure why I struggled.

I was motivated at the beginning of the week, which was when I completed most of the math homework. But as the week wore on, my motivation wore down.

Maybe it was simply because it was spring break -- no classes and no homework (except from my Spanish instructor). The goals I set for myself were just so I could get ahead on what I knew was coming due.

As I look around at my fellow students, it seems that spring break is when students either lose momentum or gain it. Spring break can be the stopping point for some students or the point at which others see the light at the end of the tunnel growing ever larger in their field of vision.

I can see the end coming quickly and spring break illuminated that. So, maybe it is a bit of melancholy once again, much as I had as the semester opened.

Sometimes as the semester rolls on, students need to regain focus and motivation. Do not give up, for the semester end is near.

For those of us who are graduating in May, it is imperative we stay focused and move forward with more momentum than at the beginning of the semester.

It is exciting seeing the light at the end of that tunnel like a train barreling along. It definitely gets the heart racing.

Kristi Wolf is a full-time secretary and student at Merced College, majoring in administrative office management, with aspirations of being a writer.

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