Fun Junk

I am one of the lucky few. I do not study, have never studied much, and do not need to study. Currently, my GPA is a 4.0, and I have never dropped below a 3.83. Sure, I get the occasional B on an assignment, and I need to work a little harder now that I'm in high school, but midterms just came and went, I studied for about 30 minutes total, and got As in all my classes. If I did study, I could probably get higher As in my classes, but I'm happy with a 92.3 percent in Mr. Walker's Bio 1 Honors class (one of the hardest classes at CHS, the seniors say). Oh, yes, I take honors classes: Honors Bio, Geometry, and English. The grades I received last semester put me in French 2 Honors and AP European History for next year as well.

My ability can lead to some funny occasions; one involving a science teacher whom I disliked comes to mind.... This teacher and I never hit it off; I corrected her and debated her (successfully) on many issues, but I always had the best grade in the class. On one test I got a 115 percent, and after a tedious lecture on study habits, she asked how long I studied.

I should have said, "Oh, I don't remember..." or something like that, but, well, I didn't like her, and there were only two minutes left of class, so I said nonchalantly, "I never study. Especially for this class." The class laughed, the bell rang, and I bowed on the way out the door.

I've tried to study in my more ambitious moods, but I always end up picking up a magazine or picking out a song on my guitar. At that point, I would realize the futility of my attempts (and how unneeded they were) and stop trying.

I recognize how fortunate I am to possess this ability, and I am really thankful. -- Kyle Landau, Carlsbad H.S.

I often organize my studying time according to whether or not I have to prepare for a quiz, test, or presentation. I usually study for an hour maximum for either Honors Precalculus or Honors Chemistry, since they tend to be the most rigorous subjects. Studying for quizzes generally takes about 20 minutes, and preparing for tests takes about 40 minutes. The most relaxing place to get ready for an exam is at the desk in my room. It is especially soothing when the window is slightly open and a delicate spring breeze comes through the screen. The location increases my ability to focus on my work. Before I begin studying, I leave for my daily walk around the neighborhood, down Mission Gorge Road; this helps clear my mind. After returning, I take a quick shower and begin studying at around 3:30 p.m.

Although I do not often study with others (to avoid distractions), I listen to my iPod. What I find to be the most compelling and motivating music to listen to while studying is classic rock: the Beatles, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Fleetwood Mac. Music helps me to read and review the material better, while eating chips and chocolate and drinking soda seems to be a disruption.

I rarely answer the telephone while preparing for exams or quizzes. Ironically, my friends from school usually are the ones who call for a quick study session over the phone.

I always make sure my assignments are finished and I have reviewed thoroughly for my exams; my parents have never served as my reminders. Yet, I am inclined to procrastinate once in a while. Come to think of it, who doesn't? -- Nichole Naoum, West Hills H.S.

I have trouble focusing on my studies. Usually I do my homework while lying on my bed, stomach down. I'll grab a clipboard and find the perfect pen and lay out all of my assignments. This helps me gauge how much work I have. I then put my assignments in order, from easiest to most difficult. I check to make sure my pen has enough ink, that my paper is not crinkled, and then I go on to MySpace. It's really difficult to work on homework when there might be a MySpace bulletin that I have not yet read. Then I'll notice that nobody has posted a bulletin in a while, so then I'll post one myself.

After a couple of hours of MySpace surfing, I go and get something to eat. It's impossible to do work on an empty stomach. So, what I do is I'll use food as motivation: I promise myself a Dorito for every math problem I complete. But we usually have only Ruffles, and I can't do math with Ruffles so I end up having to go to Vons.

By the time I get home, it's 7:00 and I have to eat dinner. And by the time I'm done eating, it's 8:00 and prime-time TV has begun. Then, once my shows are finished at 11:00, it's time to check MySpace again.

After another hour of the Internet, I realize I've still got homework. But, more importantly, I have a Reader assignment I'm supposed to write. So, I decide to write the assignment first and set my alarm for 4:00 a.m. and promise myself I'll do my homework in the morning.-- Andres Perez, Valhalla H.S.

I can do homework anywhere -- in front of the TV, at work, in my room with music blaring while I chat with people online, at the dinner table -- you name it. When it comes to buckling down and studying for tests and lecture material and fun junk like that, my behavior is the opposite. For example, when I'm reading a book for English or reading my political science textbook, I must be in my own room -- either on my bed or at my desk -- and with no music, sounds, or distractions whatsoever. However, I'm easily distracted. If a friend signs on to AOL Instant Messenger and IMs me, I'll no doubt start a conversation. It's not so much that I focus poorly, but that I want to be distracted from the book I'm reading. I look for any excuse to be distracted: food, parents coming home from work, a phone call -- it doesn't matter to me, so long as I can get away.

I get all my studying and homework done. I'm not one of those people who waits until the last minute to do everything, even though I do procrastinate. I like to be satisfied with my work and confident in my knowledge, so studying the night before is not an option for me.

Because I usually do my work ahead of time, it fits in with some of my friends' study habits. I can help those who do it last minute, and I can help those who like to study with other people. Unfortunately, studying with other people doesn't always help me. -- Laurel Popplewell, Madison H.S.

I am one of those high school students who postpones studying every night. I find no support from my parents in changing this, as my parents differ from most. Unlike typical parents, mine tell me to study less. They ask me, "Don't you need a bag of M&Ms to help you study?" Although they probably intend for this tactic to teach me to discipline myself, right now it just gives me an excuse to indulge in my procrastination. Before I study, I have a preparation ritual. I have to clean my room, finish all my other homework, check my Facebook comments, call friends to see if they have started their homework yet, and then get food; in other words, avoid beginning to study until I cannot find another way to postpone my study session. When I finally sit down, I begin praying my phone will ring so I have an excuse to take a break.

Once I get started studying, I'm okay...for five minutes, when I find something extremely important that I simply must do first, such as text-message my best friend or check my e-mail.

When I study, I have a reward system. After I finish a topic, I get to eat an M&M. Five problems later, I realize how challenging the material is (not to mention how much I am salivating), so I decide to eat an M&M after every problem instead of just when I complete an assignment. Twenty problems later, I take yet another break -- this time with legitimate reason -- to find Tums because I have given myself a stomachache!

When I can no longer absorb any more information and finally call it a day, the clock says I have spent an evening studying even though less than one hour was dedicated to the course material. -- Emma Seemann, Carlsbad H.S.

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Distractions come easy when you have little responsibility or self discipline. Setting up some type of reward system for meeting a goal is a good idea for getting through the things we hate to do but finding something (or one thing) you love to do will reap the most rewards following high school. And to the know-it-alls be careful not to burn your own bridges because the working world is tougher than you think and your social skills are just as important!

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