Three Strategies to Prepare for End-of-Year Success

Dr. Kory Gallagher, Assistant Director of Middle & Upper School
As we celebrate an opening day victory, the return of the Royals to Kauffman Stadium reminds me of a realization I had as a child: the beginning of baseball means the end of the school year. But before we enjoy the slower pace of summer, there is work to be done.
Particularly for upper school students, there are research papers to write, tests to prepare for, presentations to be made and even some senioritis to overcome. While it is too early to transition to an end-of-semester mindset, it is not too soon to begin preparing for the homestretch. Here are three strategies or reminders to help students of all ages get ready for the final push of the year.

  • Make time for some spring cleaning. At this point of the year, chances are every Barstow student’s backpack could use some attention. Even the most organized among us have probably found our system derailed by the pace of the school year. Take some time this week to reorganize, recycle the papers that are no longer needed, sharpen those dull pencils, throw away those inkless pens, and make sure class handouts are in the folder to which they belong. One way to know for sure you need to set aside some time for organizing is if you think to yourself, “I don’t have the time to get organized.” Invest the time in organizing now — it will pay off significantly when it matters most!

  • Make a list. I am a list maker. I have a to-do list for everyday. And one for the next day. And one for the week. And one for the next week. I have a list for the following month. I schedule future to-dos on my calendar when more than a month away, including a reminder in the middle of January 2024! But with so much left to do before the end of the year, even for those of us who know exactly what needs to be done, figuring out what to do next can be daunting. As the list gets longer our motivation to do anything can get smaller. To overcome “to-do list paralysis” add one more column to your lists: what is needed next for that task. Reminding yourself to study for a vocabulary quiz seems simple until you have a long list of tasks and no conception of what next step to take. Noting the concrete first step to completing a task such as “Vocab quiz — make flashcards” can help shift our mindset from a task being too large to tackle to something simple we can easily do next. 

  • Make an effort to be present. Last, and perhaps the most important and hardest to do with some much left to accomplish, is to be present — not only physically present, but also mentally present. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Examine critically what you are reading. Engage deeply with your coursework. Being present, however, can be quite the challenge. Tthe key to being present in academic endeavors is to give yourself the chance to step away from them when you need a break. Go for a run. Read something for fun. Spend some time volunteering. Play some video games (for a reasonable period of time). 
Even when that to-do list gets long and overwhelming, make time for the things that bring you joy. Get organized. Put to-do tasks on your calendar. And make the most of the next five weeks before the school year comes to a close.