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Three Ways to Academically Recover from March Madness

If you are a junior, this is where it gets real (or, arguably, really tough). APs, SATs, exams. Oh my!

With the madness of March behind us, what do April and May hold in store for you? For some students, there may be too many things on their schedules although, for others, perhaps not enough. Both in school and in life, the sweet spot is to be challenged without being overwhelmed. Just as in weight lifting, we grow with exertion but even more from recovery. Not enough recovery is as much of a problem as not enough challenge.

Explore a new extracurricular activity 

If you find yourself consistently bored with lots of time on your hands, the spring offers plenty of time to explore a new extracurricular activity, a volunteer opportunity, or a part-time job. In addition to being a student, now is a great time to further explore your interests and to develop a skill or skills that will serve you well in college and your future career.

 Plan your time wisely 

On the other hand, if you are filled with dread at the mere thought of what is facing you over the next two months, you need to pause and take a deep breath. Make a list of what you have to do; assign a guesstimate of time. Do some math. If you are in school 35 hours a week, need 56-63 hours a week of sleep, and know you spend 10-20 hours on living (meals, travel, personal hygiene!), you might have 50-67 hours for EVERYTHING ELSE. If you reckon you need 15 hours a week for sports, 20 hours for extracurricular activities, 40 hours for homework, and THEN 30 hours for APs and SAT prep, then you, my friend, have a problem.

Work hard, rest hard 

Rest is the basis of all activity. To do your best, the model should be to work hard, rest hard. Look at what thing or things you can set aside – at least for now. Can you focus on two APs and sort of phone in the third? Punt the ACT to July or the SAT to August? Drop an extracurricular activity (and give someone else an opportunity)?

The best time to assess whether the ship has too much cargo is not in the midst of the hurricane. Use this “calm before the storm” period to assess and to plan. It’s best to have a little less on your plate and a clearer plan for the commitments that matter to you. This will increase your sense of control, lower your stress, and increase your motivation, thereby making it easier for you to be successful in the things that matter to you the most.

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