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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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The Steps to Success: How Three Students Work To Balance It All

Jasmine McIntosh John Pham
Each student has their methods to their success, some have habits varying from keeping planners to taking naps and the occasional brain break.

Everyone has been there at some point: swamped with so much homework and not knowing where to start.

With the new school year starting up, it can be a struggle to get back into the groove of balancing work. And moving up in grade levels each year can make it hard to deal with the next level of workload.

This has led each individual over the years to discover habits that they can use to succeed, but some have found that their studying habits have become especially helpful. 

These individuals are no different from the majority of students. They each have their own strategies to succeed and get to where they are today in their study habits. 

Here is how they do it:

Luke Martin

“I want to know I did the best I possibly can,” senior Luke Martin said. (John Pham)

Luke Martin is a senior and has taken nine AP classes in total. He said his favorite AP class was either AP Biology or AP Chemistry. He added that he likes the challenge of the work, so he wouldn’t be able to choose a least favorite.

“Biology was my favorite class, partly due to the difficulty,” Martin said. “It was definitely the one that challenged me the most and, as a result, that motivated me the most. I feel like I’ve never learned more in one class than that class, and on top of that I simply am just fascinated by science. So that kind of just gave me an outlet to explore something I didn’t know, and learn more about the world itself.” 

Outside of academics, Martin plays for boys basketball, track and field, and this year he picked up cross country. This year makes it his fourth year of basketball, and his third year of track and field. 

Martin puts a lot of focus and pressure on himself to succeed, “I feel like I have the ability to excel, so I feel almost wrong if I don’t utilize that and push myself,” he said.

“I want to know I did the best I possibly can,” he said.

This is not a simple task, however. “It’s definitely difficult,” he said, to balance sports and classwork. He knows it’s not impossible. “As long as you have good habits and don’t procrastinate, you can get the work done,” Martin said, following it up with saying he tries his best not to procrastinate when the time comes. 

Martin said he makes sure to have a planner, attributing his success to time management. Martin said he usually doesn’t struggle with getting the work done on time. If he is struggling, it is with the actual content of the work, not the due date, and he always makes sure to ask for help.

Martin uses brain breaks to help him get back on track if he loses focus, which consist of him sitting and thinking about things besides his work for anywhere from five minutes to an hour.

“When you come to a problem, it’s hard to act intelligently when your emotions get in the way, so being able to sit down and think about it is very important to make the right decision,” he said.

Not only does he pursue the work of advanced academics, he also enjoys school trips and activities, saying he had a positive experience with the Blackfeet immersion trip, and the Greece trip La Salle provided.

He said the Blackfeet immersion trip helped his relationship become more personal with Mr. Ryan Kain, who helped him a lot over the course of Martin taking AP Biology. On the trip he took a 16 hour train ride to Browning, Montana, and stayed for a week. “I got to tutor students in a classroom, but it really ended up being a learning experience for myself, rather than me teaching kids,” Martin said. Most of what he was learning was about the Blackfeet culture, Native culture in general, and the struggles that go on there.

After high school, Martin said he wants to go to an out-of-state college, get some new scenery, and see the rest of the country. He preferably would want to go into STEM, either microbiology or biochemistry.

Ezra Moody

“I believe that asking for help is totally normal,” senior Ezra Moody said. (Jasmine McIntosh)

Ezra Moody is a senior and La Salle’s Student Body President. He is a very vocal and active member of the community.

Moody has taken six AP and four honors classes in the past three years of his high school career, and this year he is taking four AP classes. 

“My favorite has been AP Language [and Composition] or AP Calculus,” Moody said.

With being the Student Body President, Moody has to spend a lot of time planning pep assemblies, and even more time helping set up and clean afterwards. 

Moody’s work in the community doesn’t stop there though, as he is also an active member of the Pride Alliance, which meets once a month and hosts fundraisers.

Finally, Moody is a part of the set crew for La Salle’s theater department. With the set crew, Moody ends up spending many hours after school during production working on the set. This makes it hard for him to find time to get schoolwork done. 

“Usually I start doing work at 10 p.m. or so, and then it gets [to about 1 a.m.], and if I’m not finished, I wake up at 5 to finish everything else,” Moody said.

To get focused before working, Moody said, “Sometimes I will have to get a little caffeine, get a little dancing, sometimes I’ll listen to some good songs.” 

He also mentioned midday naps. “[Naps] help me recuperate my mental health,” he said,

especially if he has time during the weekend. 

To help get focused again he uses the technique of doing some light exercise around his room, such as jumping jacks or running.

One of Moody’s successful studying habits is listening to music. “I like Korn, Slipknot’s good, full volume is the best way to do it,” he said.

Although Moody has these helpful habits, he also has struggles of his own, which is taking tests. He described his really bad test anxiety, attributing it to overthinking questions or feeling like he didn’t study enough. 

However, Moody said that he never feels afraid to ask for help, and he always strives to improve when making mistakes. “If I do bad on a test, I will always ask ‘what can I improve on for the next test?’” he said.

“I believe that asking for help is totally normal,” he said.

Moody described how his achievements positively impacted his connection with his teachers. “I think it makes a good trusting relationship where they can trust me that I’ll do the work and I can trust them that they will help me through the process,” Moody said. 

Contemplating his future, Moody said he wanted to be an English teacher. Despite loving AP Calculus a lot, he wants to become a teacher for English, “because English teachers have style,” he said.

Shakira Kahl

“It’s one thing to keep working on and on and on, but you do need a break at some point,” senior Shakira (Jasmine McIntosh)

Shakira Kahl is a senior, La Salle’s Officer of Communications, a school ambassador, a moderator of the Middle Eastern Student Union, and a member of the National Honor Society.

Kahl has taken six AP classes and six honors classes over her high school career, her favorite being AP Chemistry. A class that has been difficult for Kahl is AP Calculus AB. 

Although she used to enjoy math more, the challenge of the advanced math classes have caused her to struggle with it. However, she still takes an advanced math class, as “I still like to push myself even though it’s hard,” she said.

Kahl’s planner is what keeps her going. She has a planner mapping out the events of each day, which are usually packed full. She checks this planner many times throughout her day, and uses it to keep track of when she has time to study, or when sporting events are happening.

When she does have time to study, she likes to go to public libraries or the school library if she is going to a sports game at La Salle later that evening. The reason she goes to the library is to avoid her four siblings from interrupting her. She prefers to work in solitude. 

She used to struggle with managing her time between school, sporting events, and doing work for her extracurricular activities, but now she manages her time better as she’s learned over the years.

Now if she is ever having trouble doing her work, she will take phone breaks, relocate where she is working, or take a nap. “It’s one thing to keep working on and on and on, but you do need a break at some point,” she said.

“I’ve been told by my family to take any AP and honors available,” she said. Kahl said her family told her, “What happens, happens, if I pass the exam or I don’t, at least I tried.”

However, this has not always been her mindset.

Sophomore year, she put a lot of pressure on herself to succeed, because it was her first year taking advanced classes. Junior year was not as bad for her, as she knew how to handle a tough schedule. Now during her senior year, she said she is definitely not as tough on herself as before. 

“It’s not that I don’t care as much, I just don’t beat myself up about things as much, because there is nothing I can do to change it,” she said. 

After high school she plans on going to college at Boston University, Loyola University Maryland, or Oregon State University. Kahl wants to get a degree in Chemistry, or Biochemistry, and also wants to get a minor in Psychology.

She said she loved the Psychology class here at La Salle, and really enjoys trying to figure out why people do or don’t do things.

After college she wants to go into forensics work with the F.B.I.

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