New semester brings new habits

Leila Rasas, Staff Photographer

Brandon Pineda, News Editor

As first semester came to a close, students began preparing for the end of the year. Only five months of school remain, and the last official day of school is June 23, 2011. Students—either satisfied or disappointed with the previous semester grade—have a fresh start and another chance to succeed in their new or continued semester courses.

For seniors, the Government and Economics semester-long classes are a requirement for graduation. Other optional term-long classes range from Psychology to Sociology. Government Teacher, Mr. Nevarez reflects on his first term while optimistically viewing his new-term students.

“It’s like I let my birds fly too early! There are joys and discomforts with a semester-long class,” Nevarez said. “I get twice as many students; however, I feel a disconnected feeling with the class before. They left too early.”

Though Government and Economics can often be found as year-long classes at other schools, Downey requires a shift between the two courses. Subjects, usually taught in a year-long class, are reduced to semester classes. The advantage of a semester-long class is that the class is quick, speedy, and efficient. However, there exist many disadvantages of a shortened class. The students in first semester must retain the information until the end of the year for AP, SAT, or CST exams. The second semester classes will not face the problem remembering the curriculum but then have less time to learn their material. AP and standardized (CST) testing both take place in May, so the students have one less month to learn the subject matter than do their first semester counterparts. It is a matter of personal choice and class scheduling conflicts that will lead a student to pick either a first or second semester class.

The conflicting factor that supplements the semester classes is that students become apathetic. The new term equates to new habits, or new opportunities to lose old habits. At the beginning of a new semester, students have the opportunity to cut loose some of the bad habits they had possessed in the past. These behaviors range from sleeping in class, going to sleep late, and procrastinating. Economics teacher Mr. Glasser constantly witnesses students procrastinating in his course.

“Procrastination is an issue with seniors,” Glasser said. “I do not like teaching second semester seniors because they are going through ‘senioritis.’”

Many second term seniors experience “Senioritis.” This disease entails laziness and apathy toward classes and assignments. Senior Lara Gutierrez is on the cusp of following the senioritis trend.

“It’s my senior year! I have good grades, and I won’t get to the point to absolute apathy,” Gutierrez said. “I want to relax.”

Bad habits affect the second semester transcript. The habits encompassing the new term require elimination. The clear and present danger is recognized, and a cure is attainable. Sleeping in late and constant laziness can be avoided with identification and self-imposed guidelines.