The Third Quarter Slump: School Reality or Delusion?

Third Quarter Slump (noun) /THerd kwôrder slemp/ –
Ever get the feeling that the third quarter sucks, we guess what IT DOES! Between winter break and spring break there is too much work and the weather is too cold, so why even try? Just give up, close your eyes and hope the fourth quarter will come sooner.

As the year goes by, each student is faced with highs and lows in school. While each student has his or her own opinion, a common belief is that the third quarter is the hardest. This is known as the “third quarter slump,” the question is, is the slump a school reality or school delusion?

While there is no solid proof of the third quarter slump, it is an experience most students agree does exist. While there are many different reasons to support the existence of the slump, common theories periodically come up.

One of the main reasons given is that the slump begins right after winter break, so students find it harder to get back momentum in school. After coming out of a long break, school seems to go on forever, making it hard to focus on school work. This isn’t just for students, teachers and staff feel it too.

Advisor Ms. DuChanis explained that she believes “after the thrill of the holidays, school can be a let down and feel routine and dull.”

With few four-day school weeks, normal five-day weeks seem longer, and school feels like a weird middle man between winter break and spring break. However even spring fever isn’t enough to motivate people as many have to spend that time finishing, and for some starting,  long-term assignments with looming due dates, such as research papers.

Another problem that causes the slump is the winter weather. While it does not get freezing cold in Florida, the often rainy and cloudy days have people’s energy going down the drain. With colder weather bodies respond to the change and can leave people feeling exhausted at school.

Advisor Mr.Hilf explains, “we have been lucky this year since we have had mild weather, but years with dark and cold weather affect mood and energy level.” This opinion is agreed upon by faculty and students alike. As junior Grace Pyburn believes, “everyone is dead because of the cold and after spring break everyone is ready to finish the year and get to summer.”

The colder weather also makes people sick creating a whole other issue. When students miss school it can be difficult to do makeup work while still getting new work. The overwhelming feeling of the work can put students deeper in a slump.

For those who are doing sports during this time, there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Being busy with a sport can make homework much more of a struggle, especially with the seemingly endless amount of it.

Sophomore Lilly Moore has found even more difficulty due to a concussion she recieved from soccer. Having to miss school in order to recover, Lilly explained, “I’ve just had to take the weekends to really work on everything, but it’s really hard to be absent especially during the third quarter which is why it’s considered the hardest for some people.”

However not everybody feels this way. Mr. Rivera voiced his opinion,  “a quarter is a quarter, I think it’s just one of those things where one person said it so everyone else agreed.” Every quarter has its own challenges. In the first quarter you have new classes and teachers, and students have to readjust for the new school year. Second quarter is difficult due to midterms and alternate assessments. Even the fourth quarter can be a struggle due to AP testing and finals.

The workload can seem like a lot but this is only because many subjects are now getting to the core material. It seems as though teachers are cramming more work onto students in the third quarter, but that is only because they have a lot of material they have to get through as well.
Also with more to do, there is less time to sit around and waste time. In Ms. Hazzard’s experience “students have a slump because there are long weeks and illness, but people in doing a sport are more motivated to keep going.” So sports are great at keeping the seemingly lost momentum of the third quarter.

Also many teachers are understanding of the slump and try to help students to do well. Teachers are required to get through the curriculum, but they don’t try to make school harder on purpose. After 22 years of teaching, Ms. Lane says, “I have noticed students do [have a slump], so I have changed my teaching for that reason.”

Lilly Moore has also gotten help in some classes, making school easier to readjust to. Both English and Spanish have given her alternative assessments. Lilly said she found this option, “very helpful for me so I don’t have to go back and try to make up a lot of things while also trying to keep current on the work that’s coming up like in the future, so that’s been nice.”

While many people do seem to struggle during the third quarter, others thrive and find it easy to stay in a rhythm. It is one of the things with no certain answer as every student has a different experience in the third quarter. In the end it may just be that school is hard in general.

How About Senioritis?

Going along with the idea of the “third quarter slump”, is the infamous senioritis. It is usually during the third quarter that seniors are said to waver in their school work. With all the requirements reached for college application what’s the bother doing work anymore in school right?

College counselor, Ms. Vagenas, explained that she often jokes with juniors, “ that they shouldn’t sit next to, talk to, or rub up against any seniors because senioritis tends to be pretty contagious.” However she explained that she has found that the second semester is often seniors best semester. Ms. Vagenas had a few theories on why this seemed to be.

Ms. Vagenas started off by explaining “they are more relaxed probably because the college process in terms of the application process is over.” With the hard part done, seniors can now use free periods and spare time to work on non college related things they might not have time for beforehand. “So once the college process is over now they’ve got their free period and it truly feels more free.”

Seniors are also able to choose classes that they actually enjoy as most have already met the graduation requirements.  So while they may be given a lot of work, “its course work that’s exciting to them, it’s interesting to them, and students tend to do better when they are more engaged and the course work is more interesting.” When you combine this drive with hopefully honed time management skills, it makes seniors work harder during the second semester than expected. While this may not be true for all seniors, it shows that the lackluster senioritis isn’t always true either.