The grey, dreary third-quarter days drag on, sapping students’ energy and pep. It is hard to feel engaged as a community when the cold weather and overload of assignments make you want to curl up and hibernate instead. The time between winter break and spring break can feel like a bleak void–unless it’s filled with community and meaning. Students need to find ways, big and small, to reinvigorate themselves and each other to foster a more spirited and proud social environment.
Of the 24 hours in a day, an average student spends seven hours in the academic setting, plus an additional two for extracurriculars, and then two to four more for homework. Why waste half the day just going through the motions, ambivalent? Incorporate more pep and positivity into daily life instead.
There are many small ways to spice up routine: get tea or coffee with a friend before school starts, visit a past teacher during tutorial, or attend a speaker or new club during x-period. It is a conscious choice to be an engaged community member and that concerted effort yields a big payoff.
School spirit has a cyclic nature: there is a peak around Homecoming Week, then it tapers off until second semester when grade-level retreats remind students to prioritize their community values. Granted, the competitive environment fosters individualism, and students sometimes view other’s successes as detractions from their own; instead, they should view others’ achievements as positive reflections on the whole community, and by extension, themselves. Shift the competitive mentality to one of celebration, and support peers with a mutual pride over accomplishment — offering more to celebrate each day.
It is important to recognize too that spirit does not look the same for everyone. Some students may not feel as connected to the school and thus find it harder to relate to Spartan pride. Even if students are not inclined to participate in traditional activities like sports games or dress up days, there are other avenues for them to connect to their community. Find connection through an affinity group, student club, academic team, or shared interest.
Finally, reach out to friends. Invite them to the musical, the next Film Club movie, or a basketball section game. We owe it to each other–and ourselves–to bring energy and excitement to the school in order to foster a more engaging, positive community, especially in the dreary winter months.