Tasting second semester

Michael Sugerman

A few weeks ago, some friends and I celebrated becoming second semester seniors by exploding a watermelon. We used only rubber bands to do it. It was awesome.

The sweet taste of victory (and, after it blew up, the watermelon itself) was subtly symbolic. This, I thought. This is what second semester is about.

Second semester senior. It’s alliterative. It rolls off the tongue. Even though, yes, we still have to come to school everyday, and yes, we have classes to go to and presumably do well in, the pressure is off.

In spite of newfound slack, the stereotypical apathy of a second semester senior doesn’t quite sit well at our school. This is where – at least for me – the competitive Harvard-Westlake environment plays a positive role: I have been trained to be a student who cares about performing well for the sake of my own satisfaction, whether it really “matters” or not.

That said, the following information should come as no surprise. When midterms ended, a friend from another school asked me, “How do you feel?” I responded that, while I was glad to be done with a week of two-hour exams, I felt no different. After all, in just days, I would be back in class. As I learned in French, “Kif-kif demain” – in English, “Same old, same old.”

So what is the significance of second semester senior year? What makes it different?

I feel like our class is more united. We’re seasoned veterans of this school. We’ve gone through six (or four) years together, and the second semester of our final year just symbolizes making it to “the other side.” That, in its own right, is rewarding.

This sense of group survival allows us to enjoy ourselves more. It’s why I released some stress by destroying a watermelon. It’s why the senior class organized a fake semiformal. And it’s why one senior suggested that we start doing themed senior Wednesdays.

School isn’t over, but we can just have more fun being here. Second semester tastes sweet. Almost like a watermelon.