The End of a Quarter: A Stress Catalyst

Aidan Sarazen For the vast majority of Latin students, the end of the first quarter is a time of stress. The end of the first quarter comes in mid-October, less than two months after the first day of school. Not only is the end of the quarter demanding, but the beginning is always a tough adjustment as well. To make quarter one even worse, it is the shortest quarter, giving students limited time to make quality first impressions on their teachers. After the succinct month and a half, teachers begin to ramp up the workload to try and fit assessments and assignments in right before the quarter comes to a close. Although most students are not fond of this sudden intensity in their classes, teachers have justification behind it. Due to the fact that the first few weeks of school is such an extreme adjustment from the lax summer break, the majority of the teachers will let the students have a chance to ease into the class. The homework load is less, and there are usually no major assessments. Seeing that the workload is lighter during the first few weeks (which takes up half the quarter), the teachers are more prone to dishing out assignments and assessments in the last weeks of the quarter, when they feel that their students should be more adjusted. What many teachers fail to see is the fact that although the workload is lighter in the beginning of the year, it is still stressful for students, because they have not gotten back into the swing of things. Within the group of students I surveyed, almost all of them agreed that the first quarter, especially the last weeks, was a time that stressed them out more than any other point in the school year besides finals week. In asking Max Bucksbaum, I received some attitude, as he thought that it was annoying being bombarded with assignments. Sophomore Chris Quazzo had a similar perspective, feeling “overwhelmed, especially with the play accompanying the workload”. The quarter ends two weeks before the play shows, so all the Latin actors are busy with the play, while dealing with the heavy work of classes. These students give insight into how cramming before the end of the quarter only brings anxiety. As an enthusiastic learner, Michael Gross sees it from a different point of view. Unlike other students, Michael “[embraces] the upping of the workload”, looking at it as an opportunity to make a solid impression on his teachers. When I pressed further into his thinking, asking him what exactly “embracing” meant, he simply replied, “bring it on,” again displaying his fierce academic spirit. The first quarter of the Latin school year brings pressure for students of all grades. This stress stems from the abrupt start of the school year, quickly followed by a vigorous end to the quarter. Easing into school from a three month long vacation is always a challenge, and there’s not much the Latin community can due to fix that. Although the opening weeks of the school year will unfailingly be demanding for students each year, the end of the first quarter doesn’t have be the same way. Seeing that grades are more important for the semester or end of the year (depending on the class), teachers shouldn’t feel the need to fit in extra assignments or assessments right before the first quarter comes to a close. According to Latin student Jack Landsberg, these final academic tasks “don’t always help your grade, because when you feel rushed, you can’t perform as well”. Hopefully, Latin students can find a way to cope with the stresses of the first quarter, even if they can’t embrace the workload like Michael Gross. If not, it’s not the end of the world, because there will always be three more quarters which allow students to bounce back from the demanding start of school.]]>