Friday Night Fluorescents: Prep classes sacrifice time for success

Since sophomore year, all I wanted to do was go to at least one football game on a Friday night. I don’t know much about football and I am certainly not the most school-spirited, but what I wanted was to spend the night like everyone else, away from pencils, calculators and binders, away from studying.

Instead, the second part of my Fridays started precisely at 4 p.m., with the rustling of papers and clicking of pens and pencils. This lasted until 9 p.m., which added up to more than just five hours. Those five hours were countless football games missed, hangouts denied, dinners postponed and plans avoided.

Since eighth grade, I have been attending the same tutoring academy for SAT preparation and during the four years I have been there, I often found myself wondering what all of this preparation was for. Everything I did during the tutoring sessions seemed like something I could do on my own. But as the classes at school became more and more difficult and homework took longer and longer to finish, I realized that if I were to be given the chance, I wouldn’t do a very good job at keeping myself focused on test preparations and studying.

By paying for test-prep classes, I was committing to dedicating a certain amount of time to studying and practicing something that I would not have done on my own, especially when schoolwork was taking up more and more time. This commitment became an alarm clock as it constantly remindered me to focus on what I needed to work on outside of school.

By putting in time and effort and sacrificing what seems enticing and fun at the time, I grew in discipline and learned to put aside immediate gratification for something better later on, whether that is higher SAT scores to get into a better college or better test grades at school.

Also, test-prep helped me improve in academic areas that I was weak in, areas I may have been reluctant to study. The teachers and mentors I met helped me excel in what I struggled with the most. And as test scores went up, I saw the direct result of the sacrifice I had made.

Committing to test preparation is hard. There will be hundreds of plans put off or cancelled because you’ll be forced to sit in an uncomfortable chair surrounded by page after page of practice questions. But in the end, the commitment and sacrifices you made really do pay off to be worth so much more than movie nights and dinners.