The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

Fall into the school year: Staying motivated in the autumn months

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Photo by Alice Malebranche

INTRO:
October and November seem to be the trademark month of the season of fall. It is also the time when high school students have to actually accept the fact that the school year has begun. So how can a student make the truly difficult, and often demoralizing, transition from a homework-free summer to an overflowing-planner fall.

There are many problems that a Bellarmine student faces when trying to stay focused on school work in the fall months. Here are some solutions to being
successful and motivated with a hint of autumn festivity:

FALL WEATHER:
For one, the fall days are shorter-lived with less and less daylight with each passing week. Humans follow a 24-hour Circadian rhythm cycle that responds to the change in natural light. When the sky turns darker and our bodies receive less light, our productivity levels decrease and there is less brain stimulation. As students with busy lives and after school activities, homework often does not get started until the darker hours of the night. With the dreary and gloomy weather, there is less Vitamin D in our bodies and, which worsens bone strength, leaves us feeling weak, and drained. School Counselor Katie Keene’s office, one can find the solution to this situation. Keene’s “Happy Light,” that can be easily purchased off of Amazon, is perfect for omitting some natural light into your work space and making it feel like it is time to get work done. Keene says that this light helps her stick with a routine and find a rhythm. When the daylight obstructs how you would normally be doing work, maybe consider this “Happy Light.”

When interviewed, Keene also emphasized the importance of making sure to know when that light needs to be shut off. She explains that, “You have to find a balance and you have to sleep”. Rather than burning out through the whole night, “take a break, grab a snack, and be ready to re-engage with more energy.”

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WORKSPACE:
Speaking of your study environment, it’s always important to keep your workspace fit to your studying needs. Making studying fun and intriguing to your interests is such an important factor to staying motivated on school work. For some, finding a cafe or fun workspace out of your house is the best for increasing productivity. Go with a friend and get a cup of hot chocolate to mix things up. Leave the rowdy siblings of nagging parents at home and find a space that you feel comfortable working in.

Using stationary that works well for you and is fun to use can inspire better note taking and more organized study habits. Notebooks, pens, highlighters, whatever helps note taking and studying more enjoyable.

Still, don’t be too comfortable. Your bedroom, and more specifically your bed, is meant for sleeping. Your brain will not be ready to work if you’re telling it to hit snooze.

During the fall season there are so many festive locations with holiday drinks and autumn decorations that can really put you in the fall study mindset. Idealize and glamorize your study location and you’ll begin to be more excited by the thought of doing school work.

One space to go to for studying, and to get access to help is the Bellarmine ACE. In Orrell Hall, the ACE has office hours, workshops/labs, and access to help from students and staff. There is also information for NHS student tutoring and help there. For more information, about the ACE’s availability, the documents below address office hours and class labs.

CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT:
A big factor of being a successful student in the fall months is getting involved in on campus activities. It’s the perfect time to begin getting active in clubs, ASB, sports, service, and other campus life social groups. Of course, it’s never too late to get involved at Bellarmine, but planning ahead and knowing what’s on your plate at the beginning of the school year relieves so much stress.

There is a “Activities” tab on the MyBellarmine, Resources section that shows a list of Clubs to get involved with. And if there’s nothing you seem particularly interested in, make your own club! There’s always someone who shares interests with you, don’t be afraid to start something new.

Show up to sports games and support people in Theatre, Band, and all of the different groups at Bellarmine. By showing up to these campus events, you can meet new people, and just find your home space at Bellarmine. If your school campus doesn’t feel like a second home, that you find yourself happy at, then studying will become all the more harder. Friday Night Lights, “Rehearsal for Murder,” holiday Band concerts, and Hoco are all high school experiences that you don’t want to miss if you truly want to find your social/work balance.

Don’t forget the fall activities that Bellarmine ASB has organized. The Halloween Ghost Hunt, Turkey Bowl, Halloween Spirit Days, and Campus Trick or Treating.

WORK/SOCIAL BALANCE:
When studying for long periods of time, you owe yourself time for socializing. Whether in a quiet and more introverted style of getting fresh air in public, or hanging out in crowds with friends, it’s important to take a break from school. Without taking breaks from work, your mental health strains and it becomes even more difficult to engage in school without burning out.

Junior, Guadalupe House Campus Life Representative, Caroline Potyondy, suggests, “After a long time of working, reward yourself with a sweet treat,” in order to avoid getting burnt out. Potyondy states that while it’s important to put away distractions and focus on working hard in school, “You only have 4 years of highschool, so you have to make it count”. This means that even when you have a hard test the next day, take care of yourself and do the best to enjoy your high school experience.

ACE Team Member and Testing Coordinator, Kelly Rosati uses her own strategy for staying engaged. Set a timer for however long you feel that you will be 100% engaged on school work. In that time, if a distracting thought pops into your head, write it down on a nearby piece of paper. After that timer rings, address the notes on your paper for a short time. Then get right back to work with the same pattern. After a few times of repeating this, you can take a longer break for fresh air, food and water, or social engagement. Rosati also says that the importance of a healthy snack is important to your study routine. In other words, you should not only be eating, but fueling your body with nutritious food that helps you engage.

Rosati also stresses the importance of conferencing with peers. She says that especially for naturally social people, talking with others and discussing school topics makes it more fun, engaging, and it’s bound to stick in your head more. Trying to explain what you’ve learned to others displays the extent to which you’ve learned the subject and shows whether or not you’ve mastered the topic.

SUMMARY:
In order to be a successful student in the fall months, you have to sacrifice a lot of the free time that makes you feel liberated in the warm summer months. But regardless of the gloomy fall weather, there’s a beautiful bunch of red leaves falling to give us something to take step by step in. To reach academic and social goals this high school year, get a good head start in fall with using your day to its fullest, finding a fun study environment, getting involved on campus, and finding a social/work balance.

About the Contributor
Alice Malebranche, Reporter
Alice Malebranche is a part of the class of 2025 and is honored to be on the Journalism Staff for the 23-24 school year. Spending most of her week on campus, she participates in Bellarmine lacrosse and golf, as well as Link Crew, Campus Ministry, and a variety of clubs. Outside of school, you can find Alice playing club lacrosse, watching the sunset at Chambers Bay, playing guitar, and taking her dog for a walk. She’s excited to contribute some pieces to the Bellarmine Lion this year!