March Madness

Cleveland going into overtime with no timeouts

Fighting to keep your eyes open while the teacher gives a lecture in class. Falling behind in your classes because of your job. Tons of scholarships that you’ve applied to but haven’t been awarded a single one. Whenever you cross off one task, it feels like two more get added to your to-do list.

With only about three months left in the school year, students are on the verge of going mad. While avid sports fans are glued to the TV during college basketball’s playoff season, Cleveland students are trying not to lose it during an eight-week stretch of school with no breaks. The mission seems nearly impossible.

“I try to prioritize my work based on what’s most important,” sophomore Kenzo Yoshitomi said. “Sometimes I procrastinate and just play my Xbox.”

The nights are late and the mornings are early, leading you to become dependent on coffee and energy drinks to keep your brain functioning throughout the day.

“I recommend that students take extra-curricular activities such as sports to motivate themselves to do well academically,” history teacher Rebecca Williams said.

Constant stress pokes fun at your conscious. Should you give up? Do you give in? One good nap wouldn’t hurt, would it? But the nap that you thought would last only last 30 minutes ends up lasting for two hours. It is so much easier to give up and not do the work, but remember what you’re working towards. The Spring Break trophy is within reach, and the end of school is in sight! Splash some water on your face, eat a good meal and brace yourself for March Madness.

Opponents: Shake of the distractions

The other team is looking you dead in the eye, seeing if they can beat you at your own game. At a time when it’s easy to fall prey to distractions, things like your phone, computer or video games become your opponent. Handling those monster blocks and attempts to steal attention will be challenging, but being smart with your time will be key to keeping those pesky opponents in check.

To avoid social media distractions, turning off your phone is always a winning play. Try going to the library instead. It puts you in an environment that urges you to get your work done.

Another huge opponent is the beautiful weather. Seattle weather changes at the drop of a hat, so when it’s sunny out, it’s hard not to want to soak up some sun. If you must go outside, try doing your homework on your front porch. The key is to stay productive.

Eagle fans: Let the roar of the crowd motivate you

Imagine yourself on the court, with the entire crowd cheering you on, expecting you to win. The pressure can be overwhelming. When you’re on the court, every single move that you make is being watched. Every shot. Every point. Every mistake.

“The teachers at Cleveland pressure me to do well,” sophomore DarNesha Green said.

As students, you are all expected to succeed in school. Your motivation to do well comes not only from your desire to do great things, but also the people in your lives that push you to be better. Sometimes you don’t get the grade you want or you fail a big test that makes your grade plummet.  Though the crowd may be silent now, they’re still there in the stands supporting you. They’re just waiting for you to do something remarkable to get them on their feet again.

Benchwarmers: Seniors anxiously await college acceptance letters

The subject that has been on almost every senior’s mind this year is college acceptance letters. Seniors are  sitting on the bench, waiting to play at the next level. With the talk of college interminable throughout the entire senior year, the pressure for those elusive letters is much higher.

Luckily in the month of March, most will find out – if they haven’t already – what colleges they’ve been accepted to. Plus, with no breaks or extra days off, school can be a good diversion until those important documents arrive, even if it’s not the most exciting option.

Social media is good for occupying your study breaks, but there are other things you can do to preoccupy yourself until your letter arrives, like apply for scholarships. With college prices rising, it’s nice to have a little insurance in your back pocket.

“I apply for tons of scholarships. It lets me know I actually have a plan if I were to get in; plus it distracts me,” said senior Lynh Tran.

Sometimes social media and scholarships are a fruitless way of keeping your mind off those letters, so you have to work on staying positive or preparing for the college’s decision.

“I try to assume that I got in … that way I don’t stress over it too much,” said Abdirisak Aden.

For all the seniors waiting on the sidelines: the pressure is hard-hitting, but it’ll all be over soon and you’ll be able to rest easy.

Coaching staff: Keeping your head in the game

When it’s the last quarter of the game, and you are down by a couple of points, do you believe that your coaches are going to call the right play to help you win the game? Think of your teachers as your coaches. They are here to help you keep your head in the game.

Some coaches give you the extra push you need. Others are a little harder on you, but that’s only so you can play your best game. They schedule last minute, walk through practices before the final game to make sure you are prepared for the difficult possessions.

“I’m willing to give my students extra credit and math support for coming into CASH or MTSS,” said Math teacher Genny Van Laar.

Other coaches expect you put in study time by yourself outside of practice so you are well prepared to knock down key shots.

Although some students may respond better to one style of teaching than another, it’s the responsibility of the student to recognize what kind of teacher they have and prepare to the best of their ability.”

Shot clock: Don’t let time run out on turning in homework

Time is ticking and there’s only a few seconds left on the shot clock. Those last minute turn-ins and retakes can either make you or break you. As the seconds wind down, it feels like the weight of the pressure is pushing down on you as well. In this short amount of time, every shot counts. Missing a deadline is not the end of the game. Teachers encourage students to turn in their work even if it’s way past due.  It’s better than having an incomplete.

Likewise, quiz and test retakes are one of the best things you could do to raise your score. Don’t be afraid to pester your teacher to see if there’s any way you can get a higher grade in the class. If you missed a shot once, rebound. At least the shot clock starts over when you hit the rim.

Timeout: Plan some weekend getaways

Your heart is pounding, sweat is dripping down your back and your muscles are tremulous. You look at the clock, expecting it to be almost halftime but are shocked to see there’s still five minutes left in the quarter. Thankfully, your coach calls a timeout and you’re given a chance to catch your breath.

Over the next few weeks, the weekends will be your timeouts. You could use it as a chance to catch up on any work you’re behind on or missing, but it’s also important to take some time for yourself during these brief respites.

“When you’re stressed out … it’s really important to take care of yourself. You’re doing things that are life-giving to you,” recommends Evin Shinn, American Government and U.S. History teacher. To relieve stress, take time to hang out with friends, go practice your religion or play sports.

Angela Lee, a senior and avid tennis player, enjoys practicing the sport when she’s stressed out. “I hit a ball against a wall to get my anger out sometimes. Like when I was sad … I was like, ‘I need to play tennis.’”

With such a long time until the next break, make sure to take advantage of your timeouts.

Final quarter: So clutch!

It’s the last quarter of the semi-final game. The trophy is so close you can taste it. The long nights spent writing papers and drinking Red Bull are about to pay off. You’ve procrastinated for most of the semester, and now it’s time to come in clutch. That means putting aside the fun and getting focused.

“I had to learn not going to the gym every day … and getting help from my teachers first before I go and hangout with my friends,” said junior Nico Buchanan.

For most students – and especially seniors – the last quarter is make-or-break, the one that determines if you’re playing in the title game called graduation or taking the bus back home to summer school.

Spring Break: We goin’ to the ‘ship!

The big, shiny trophy at the end of this quarter is five wonderful days of Spring Break. To survive the eight weeks without any breaks is going to be a challenge, but those hardships are typical when one is on the road to winning a championship. 

“[I’m] excited for spring break because it’s a break from school,” said sophomore Hewan Mengistu.

Visualizing the victory at the end of our hard work motivates us to keep training to win that trophy.