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Persephone
       The Greek tale of Persephone reminds one of the optimism of spring. No matter how bad things are in the dreary days of winter, we have to remember that the coming of spring brings longer, warmer days. With that foresight, it is easier to make it through the period of shorter, colder days. We know things can and will change, and it is good to take that perspective whenever facing any hardship.
       This year we were hit with several March Nor’easters. We had too many snow days, which mean the end of school has been pushed off. The weather and inconsistent days of school similarly had a negative impact on too many students from an academic perspective. Just as we have to shake off the dreariness of winter, we need to take a positive perspective in looking at the final marking period in schools.
       The first step is setting goals for the last stretch of the school year. The goals should intentionally be high. Even if they are not achieved, striving for them will move you in a positive direction and will offer meaningful benefits. The purpose of learning how to learn should be an intrinsic value, but you should not ignore the extrinsic values created by our society.
       The grades you get in school will have a direct impact on your future. Therefore, earning higher grades will be beneficial at a later time in your life. That, in itself, should justify putting in your best effort in the last marking period. I believe parents should not only reward their children for getting excellent grades. They should also offer rewards for showing marked improvements over previous performance.
       All too often, students who are doing poorly in a course simply give up in the spring. This is erroneous for a few reasons. First, most grading systems make it possible to still pass a course, even if earlier grades have been very poor. In addition, many schools have a “second-chance” option to take a test in the end of the summer that makes it possible to get credit for a failed course. It requires proving that you do understand the main concepts of the course. Working hard in the last term makes it easier to hone your skills over the summer and then do well enough on that test.
       Finally, credit in many courses is required for graduation. That means that, when such courses are failed, they need to again be taken in the future. Tossing in the towel in the fourth quarter will just make it more difficult in the next year. On the other hand, keeping up the effort until the end of the year should help the next time around.
       No matter where things stand at this time, remember that it will prove beneficial in the future to put in your best effort now – even if it is not visible at this time!
             
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