5 Ways High Schoolers Can Wrap Up the School Year Right

With summertime in the air, the last semester of the year can be the most exciting: there’s warmer weather, end-of-the-year celebrations, and often lighter, more creative final projects. For this reason, it’s often the busiest time of year. Despite all the craziness, here are five ways you can wrap up the school year right.

1. Make the most of your classes

It’s easy to start slacking off this time of year. To wrap up your year right, though, you’ll want to keep going strong until the end. Grades often depend on final exams or projects, so you don’t want to loosen up earlier in the semester only to scramble, or to have your grade suffer, in the last few weeks. Some teachers account for this by assigning more hands-on or creative projects; take advantage of those that are offered! In any case, stay on top of important dates, including final exams, project due dates, presentations, and/or AP exams by marking them clearly in your planner or phone. Break down larger assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks, and be sure to plan your schoolwork around any other extracurriculars.

2. Set up summer plans

Depending on your school or community, there’s often a lot of pressure around how summer is spent. The downside to this is that you can start comparing yourself to others, especially if you don’t have a fruitful job or prestigious internship lined up. The upside to this, however, is that it can serve as motivation for finding summer plans that best suit you. Is it a job or an internship? Are there summer programs that would deepen your skills or interests? Is there a camp you’d like to attend, or a test to start studying for? Don’t forget to consider traveling or taking on a personal creative project. There are many ways you can make summer memorable and productive, and it doesn’t have to be the typical 9-5 internship. Counselors, teachers, and other community members can have great resources and contacts for these types of activities.

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3. Schedule next year’s classes

Some schools allow you to sign up for classes during your spring semester, while others may have you sign up in the fall. Regardless, now is a great time to speak with your guidance counselor or academic counselor about what classes are required for you to graduate, and which you can take as an elective. Scheduling out your classes now—even if you don’t have to formally sign up—can help you plan out your summer also. You might find out there’s a course you want to take over the summer or a subject you’d like to be tutored in over the summer. Or, you may just want to take out a few books from the library or do some online research to stay fresh in a subject over the summer.

4. Enjoy end-of-the-year activities

There are so many ways schools celebrate the end of the year, including banquets or dinners for clubs and teams, class gatherings, field trips, and of course, prom. If you’re an introvert who may wish to shy away from some of these things, take a moment to select which activities will be most meaningful to you and your friends. If you’re more of an extrovert, on the other hand, who would like to be sure to make it to all of these occurrences and more, take the time to carve out space in your schedule to ensure you don’t miss these things (in addition to other important commitments related to academics or perhaps finding a job). Now is a great time to push yourself, in terms of your own personal standards, to enjoy end-of-the-year activities. Don’t feel any pressure, however; pick the events that are right for you!

5. Thank your teachers, counselors, and/or coaches

Take the time to thank your teachers, counselors, coaches, and any other school professionals in a way that feels most comfortable for you: verbally, with a card, with a small gift (handmade gifts are great, as well as baked goods, small mementos, or gift certificates), etc. You may even choose to go in with friends or with the whole class to put together a gift or small celebration for one of your favorite teachers. If you particularly liked a certain book or assignment you did in class, tell your teacher specifically; he or she will really appreciate the kind feedback! It’s also a great way to start building a rapport with someone who will more than likely be able to write you a college recommendation letter in the future, act as a job reference, or simply be a great mentor in your life.

As both summertime and end-of-the-year tasks approach, keep in mind the above ideas to wrap up the school year right. Make sure that whatever you do helps you appreciate the end of the year not only academically, but personally as well.