Everyone who understands how high school works knows how second semester senior year is supposed to be the best semester of high school.
College applications are all sent in, second semester grades don’t matter as much and there’s nothing left to do but wait for decisions to come out in April. Achieving full-fledged “senioritis” is almost like a rite of passage. At this point, we are burnt out from schoolwork, college applications and standardized tests. We’ve gotten this far and granted, we deserve a little break from everything. Being a second semester senior means occasionally cutting class, skipping out on homework assignments and getting borderline passing grades.
But many seniors take their senioritis too far. Becoming a second semester senior does not grant us permission to tune out of the end of high school completely.
Has it really been the idea of getting accepted into our dream colleges that has been keeping us going for the past four years? Is all our hard work and late nights spent doing homework done for the sake of simply getting into college? As much as I would like to deny it, I can certainly say that I have been guilty of letting college acceptances motivate me.
Like many of my classmates, in my freshman year I joined a variety of academic clubs so that I could get ahead. Summers were spent driving to and from SAT prep classes instead of spending time with family or relaxing at the beach.
Even what originated as innocent hobbies turned into purposeful preparation for college. Rather than taking the time to read for enjoyment, I found myself reading classical books that I didn’t necessarily love so that I could learn (more like memorize) some new SAT vocabulary. Luckily many of the things that started out as something I did for college have turned into things that I actually enjoy, like Speech and Debate and Jane Austen.
Still, I think it’s interesting to look at what motivates people and what happens when you take away that motivation. It’s really the same kind of idea in the real world but instead of college acceptances, it’s money or power that’s the main motivator.
Second semester really is a bit of a test for us seniors. When college acceptances are taken away as a motivator, do we let ourselves slide into the abyss that is senioritis or do we continue putting our best effort into school?