Written by Cecilia Ymaz, Sophomore at CVHS


Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list. Yet, it’s not necessarily that there isn’t enough time — it’s the way we perceive it. The Pomodoro technique is extremely efficient in maximizing productivity as you become consistent with working for a constant amount of time following a short break. 

The Pomodoro Technique is often used with the 25/5 method, meaning that you study for 25 minutes and have a 5-minute break afterward. However, you can also use the 50/10 method for a longer studying session. Having short breaks in between studying periods has been proven to sharpen your concentration and keep your mind fresh. If you are new to the Pomodoro technique, you may find it difficult to get tasks done within 25 minutes. Sooner or later, you’ll become increasingly efficient at finishing assignments while maintaining quality work. 

Distance learning has made it difficult for many students to pay attention for long periods of time and have excellent time management. Personally, assignments that used to take less than 30 minutes to complete sometimes take me a lot longer to finish. Using the Pomodoro technique has helped me create a structured daily routine that keeps me on track. It also gives me an opportunity to take my eyes off of the computer that I stare at all day long during quick breaks, which are more beneficial than they may seem!

Start using the Pomodoro technique today! There is an overwhelming amount of Pomodoro resources available on the internet including Pomofocus, a simple website using the 25/5 method. You can also customize the time in Settings (located in the top right corner of the website). 

There are also YouTube channels dedicated to making “Study With Me” videos if you are struggling with motivation to study. These videos are especially helpful for students at home that enjoy studying with others without any distractions. Simply typing “Study With Me” in the YouTube search bar will display hundreds of videos to choose from depending on whether you enjoy background noises (e.g. rain sounds), music, or even a nice view to look at during your break. Merve is a YouTube channel based in Scotland with serene sights of sunsets, cloudy days, and more. 

I hope you can find this technique useful and incorporate it into your daily routine! 

Written by Sheyla Rodriguez, Junior at CVHS


Two years ago, I was firmly convinced I was expected to be flawless as a straight-A student. I always
perceived it as a straightforward process, pay attention, ask questions, ace the test, get the A. Proficient grades are said to reflect your understanding of the given subject. Whether it is a letter, a percentage, or a rank, students are always graded by what I call the “smartiness scale” Although one should indeed strive for that A, satisfactory grades do not always reflect the student’s good grasp of a subject. Straight A’s do not mean that the student is not lost or struggling. Sometimes they are simply afraid to speak up.

I wholeheartedly believe that every student can pass a subject with the proper amount of support. But
what about those who are seemingly excelling? Are they truly passing? Many straight A’s students are
afraid to admit that they do not know something. Speaking from my own experience, I have always been labeled as the “nerd” and this has pressured me into living up to the title.

Here is the truth, being a straight A’s student does not mean you are truly learning. Indeed, some high
schoolers who are constantly pressured into fulfilling the straight A’s students’ expectations might be
just as lost as students with a C.


Why? There is a clear misconception with the word “learning” where it is replaced with the word
“passing” If you pass your test with a perfect score, it is deemed you learned the content taught in class. But is that true? In a system where failing the tests gets you nowhere, many have realized that if they retain the information for the exam, they will pass. In the long run, the material does not stay. Of
course, some students might not relate to this, but many do. Are they learning? Perhaps, maybe they
are just passing. The usage of the phrase “I passed the class” points to this realization. Students regard classes as chapters in a book, once they read them, some may not care to go back. They store the information long enough to pass the tests and as they enter higher grades this information is somewhat forgotten.


No matter where you stand on the smartiness scale, you are the one aware of your strengths and
talents. Maybe math is hard, but you excel at music, perhaps you bombed that calculus test, but you just had a bad day. Do not feel that you must surpass your teacher’s expectations if you are that straight A’s student. Get rid of that fear of disappointing others if you do not understand something.

Learning is not about earning good grades. Still, I acknowledge how important they are for those who
dream of going to big universities like me. The point is, do not let a letter define you.

Especially during these times, it is 150% okay to feel tired, drained, or unmotivated. Your mental health
and well-being should be at the top of your list. Do not allow stress and expectations to overwhelm you. Do not let the straight A’s or straight C’s define your competence. Ask questions if you have them, say you are lost when that chemistry problem obliterates your brain cells.

AP student or not, A-student or not, we all have our passions, responsibilities, and priorities. If you like
your grade right now, perfect. If you do not, remember that you can change it. Do not exist to please the
smartiness scale. Distinguish learning from passing, learn for the sake of your future and not just to pass one test. Persevere, acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the career you dream of. In the end, you are the one who chooses to check in with your teacher or counselor, reach out to friends, run a mile, blast some music. You are the one who knows what helps you. Remember that it is okay to not be okay, no matter where you stand in the smartiness scale.