It's that time of year again! The sun is out, the clouds have parted, and the weather is beautiful for the first time since our long winter began.

All we want to do is go outside, but are we allowed this simple pleasure?

No.

Instead, we are forced to stay inside and stare out of the window as the birds fly by, taunting us with their freedom.

Now you may wonder, what on Earth could make us stay inside on a day such as this? It's simple _ studying.

Every year, the most important tests of our high school career crop up inconveniently during the emergence of nice weather in upstate New York.

For juniors especially, these tests keep us trapped inside, while our parents and teachers alike "gently remind" us of the fact that passing these tests is the only way we are going to get into a good college and have a future.

No pressure.

So how are we to do it? How on Earth are we supposed to sit inside and torture ourselves with memorizing (what most of us have deemed useless) information, when the outside world is beckoning us to come outside and enjoy the weather?

Once again, the answer can be summed up in one word _ willpower.

Everyone has his own way of studying that works for him. Some people like to write out the material on flashcards and quiz themselves. Unfortunately, that has never worked for me.

I found out early on that I tend to cheat while quizzing myself, and look at the back of the card. Sure, there's a moment of scolding myself, but I rarely stay mad, and typically just forgive myself and continue on with my disastrous cycle.

Everyone claims to support the study skill of not cramming before a test, which I find to be utterly ridiculous.

Without cramming, we've missed the ultimate opportunity to be as high-school-student-cliché as possible.

It's the picture of high-school-academia: past midnight, and the only light on is your bedroom light, as you pore over your textbooks and scribbled notes, angry with yourself for procrastinating for this long, but slightly pleased that tomorrow you'll be able to swap stories with everyone about how awful studying for this test was between yawns.

A study skill I've heard of (OK, my mom forcibly suggested that I use), is to remove all distractions and focus solely on the material before you.

Now, this is just preposterous. We live in the technological age. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that we will not be surrounded by things that ring, beep and buzz letting us know they're there and ready to use to communicate with others. Are we to deny these objects of their purpose in the world? For me, it's hard to be that malicious.

Unfortunately for us, sometimes we have no other choice but to take these suggestions to heart. These are the times when we take a deep breath, essentially cut off all contact to the outside world, and study for the SAT, ACT, AP or basically any combination of capitalized letters and numbers. While it may seem like cruel and unusual punishment now, as soon as we put our No. 2 pencils down, we can look back and be thankful we put the effort into studying … and then go outside and finally enjoy what's left of the sunshine.

Adrian Adamo is a junior at Oneonta High School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.

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