Semester Stress

Hadley C.

Staff Writer

As the end of first semester rolls around, many students have started to feel pressure. With extracurricular activities stealing unavailable time and school demanding all attention, it is easy to see one’s grades drop from all the stress. For most students at Woodstock High, having an A-B average is a must, considering that A’s and B’s are required to receive the HOPE scholarship. With all the extra tasks on students’ plates, how can one find ways to get everything done? Look no further, Wolverines. Everything can be done if one has the right resources, and the abundant amount of technological resources are a Google search away.

Distractions, distractions, distractions. Whenever a notification goes off, or the thought that Pintrest might have tips for the problem at hand, the power of the Internet has attacked a grade. Most people will tell a distracted student to simply ignore the urge to check social media, but that can be a fairly hard-to-do task when it is more than simple to click a button on a computer and hit the mother lode of cat gifs. That is why there are software developers like Felix Belzile and Charlie Stigler to help keep browsing under control. With the way most teachers want homework turned in via Turn It In, Edmodo, Dropbox, Google Drive, or another file share, turning the wifi off is like writing a research paper and then throwing it in a fire. Belzile created a free computer program for students called Cold Turkey, an application which allows users to block all websites that distract them for a specified amount of study time. And here is the best part: once the study time is activated, the blacklisted sites cannot be changed. The program cannot be turned off either, so one cannot be distracted on other websites. Stigler created a similar application called Self Control. Just like Cold Turkey, this blocks websites that distract the user during their study time. However, Self Control is optimized for Mac computers, unlike Cold Turkey, which was created for PCs.

Distractions aside, completing tasks can still be daunting. Writing papers can be worrisome on Microsoft Word, since students’ minds often associate the iconic blue and white color scheme with stress and worry. Ruslan Agarizaev, a software designer, has created a program designed to help students relax while writing. This program is called Zenwriter and has many features that keep the writer focused and calm. With a variety of backgrounds, sounds, brightness settings, and styles, Zenwriter is extremely customizable to one’s needs. The program has a 15 day free trial and then a $10 one-time fee for the full program. Agarizaev understands that many of his users are dreaming novelists and broke students, so if Zenwriter is the perfect tool, but it is not possible to afford the fee, the user can email Agarizaev, and he will typically send the user the full program for free.

Staying productive can be almost as challenging as having an “A” average in a class. Software developers Levi Bucsis, Jesse Overton, and Nicholas Rempel have created a Chrome add on called “Momentum,” a productivity dashboard that appears on Google’s unique new tab page. The page features the date and time, an inspirational quote, the weather, a place to type in a daily goal (EX: Memorize all World History vocab), a Google search bar, an applications button to view all added Chrome apps, a to-do list, and stunning photography for a relaxing background. This added page to a Chrome browser keeps the user focused on the tasks at hand and makes it much harder for the user to get completely distracted.

Of course, a student could simply not launch one of these helpful applications and may find his or herself completely distracted online. Study Bloggers are there to save the day! Never heard of a Outside NotesStudy Blogger? They are on nearly every blogging and social media platform, inspiring followers to study, trying new ways to take notes, and recommending apps and websites to help with school. Study bloggers will not only be reminders on a feed but also a source that will make studying and school work feel less like a chore and more like something fun.

Studying is one of the most important academic processes, but studying can be a tricky task. Studying with flashcards can be helpful, and websites like StudyBlue and Quizlet are clean, easy to use, and portable websites for assistance. These are perfect for vocabulary, as they feature flashcards, tests, games, and even the ability to share the cards with classmates. If students finds themselves having trouble understanding a text in class, they could look up the book on Shmoop or SparkNotes. These websites are helpful with breaking down chapters of a novel into easy-to-understand summaries. They also highlight important quotes, symbols, character roles, and offer quizzes.

Remember that goals always seem farther away than they really are. Never be afraid to ask for help and to use what resources are available. Put in lots of effort and dedication, and finals will be a breeze, as well as raising that C to a B. Good luck!

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