We have all heard about what it means to be a second semester senior — cutting class, skipping homework and maybe even failing a test or two. In other words, checking out.
Many people think of “senioritis” as a rite of passage, something earned after years of intense work, culminating in a few crazy months of working at high gear on college applications and first quarter grades. And it’s true. We do deserve a break.
Being a second semester senior is a really special time. It’s our last few months together before taking off on our own.
It is a time to connect with friends, to spend time with family and to recharge before diving into college classes. But being a second semester senior does not entitle us to opt out of an entire academic semester.
It’s easy to succumb to the mentality that we are all burnt out and all that’s left to do this year is wait for our college acceptance letters. Many seniors just want to stop trying, or at least stop trying as hard, because they know second semester grades won’t be sent to colleges. They feel like they not only deserve but have earned the right to zone out.
But this mindset implies that the only reason we were working hard in the first place was to get into college. Yes, some of the pressure is off, and there’s no need to stress about every assignment, but our performance in classes is still important.
When grades cease to matter as much as they did before, we have the luxury of being able to enjoy learning rather than chasing straight As.
It is disrespectful to our teachers to imply that the only reason we took their class was to boost our GPAs. It is disrespectful to our parents to devalue the education they are providing for us. It is also disrespectful to ourselves to abandon everything we have achieved thus far for a few months of total freedom from all academic responsibility.
Don’t let a few lazy months cast a shadow over the academic reputation you have built over three and a half years.
As our deans have said, we can ease off the gas pedal while not taking our feet entirely off of the brakes. After all, we all came to Harvard-Westlake for many reasons, one of which was its academic prestige.
We don’t have to spend all night on an essay, but we should at least read the book. Just because we can slack off and not do homework doesn’t mean we should. The fact that no one will see your D- doesn’t make it okay.
If you have been on the honor roll for the previous three years, do you really want to throw that all away in one semester? And although it’s tempting to not prepare for AP tests, our results can still determine the classes we take in college. A few nights of hard work now could allow you to have the freedom to take more of the classes you want to take next year.
The purpose of high school is not to get into college but to learn and prepare ourselves for our future studies.Acting as if finishing college applications is the ultimate goal only perpetuates the idea that our high school experience is only a stepping stone for something greater. High school is an important experience in and of itself.
You don’t need to fail your classes in order to find yourself, recharge, give back to the community or get anything else you need out of your last months at home. Being a good student and having fun are not mutually exclusive.
Let’s end on a high note.