My life for the past month or so has been preparing for final exams. Good news is that my very last fall semester finals of my high school career are O-V-E-R- OVER!!! Not to sound like a slacker (which, if you knew me, is the last word that’d come to mind), but spring semester finals are not as high-stakes as fall semester finals. Come spring, we will already have gotten accepted into colleges and know where we’d be going. Plus, colleges usually don’t look at spring semester finals, unless they specifically request them. That’s not to say that one should B.S. second semester senior year- I’ve heard sad stories of students getting their applications rescinded because of the very fact that they flunked their second semester classes. Honestly though (prepare for a rampage), I understand the logic behind senioritis- that is, seniors slacking off in school, usually during the latter half of the school year, on the grounds that college apps are in and how they perform second semester in no way impacts their college admission chances. Also, there is a significantly less amount of pressure placed on seniors during second semester. So I agree that students can afford to loosen their grips a little and not feel the pressure to be perfect (although, as I always say, perfection is an illusion, an unattainable goal). But my question is, why WOULDN’T you want to try your best in school, despite the circumstances? The point of school, after all, is to learn! Students who think it’s fine to slack off, ditch school, and not do homework during second semester, just because colleges won’t see their grades, have a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning behind school. By this logic, students seem to be going to school simply to get good grades, not to ACTUALLY LEARN. And I think this is a huge problem in today’s school system! Many high-achieving students are going to class not because they genuinely want to learn, expand their knowledge bases, or develop skills necessary to succeed later in life, but rather, because they want good grades to get into top-tier, highly-selective colleges. The paradox? These same colleges like students who have genuine learning minds, who are hungry for knowledge and exhibit passion- not two dimensional squares who only know how to play the admissions game well. At the end of the day, grades are simply letters and numbers. Why do most universities view students’ applications holistically? Because they know a person’s merit cannot be measured by a letter or number.
Going back to my point on senioritis- while I know many seniors will still do it, I’m hoping some people will take what I’ve said into consideration. Am I saying it’s not okay to relax a bit this coming semester? Of course not! Life is too short to stress- we seniors have been under a lot of pressure these past couple years, and it’s time we enjoy the last bit of our high school journey before it ends. On the flip side, school is a place where students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills vital to success in the workforce, and simply in life. That is why I’m determined to keep up my academic performance this coming semester, because I want to keep learning and growing. Through studying hard for exams, doing homework, participating actively in class, and engaging in stimulating discussions with my teachers and peers, we gain knowledge! If one is to go into second semester with the mindset of “I really don’t care about any of this sh** because colleges won’t know”, then one’s learning suffers.
So this is what I say: second semester of senior year is a time of self-discovery and growth, the time to challenge yourself EVEN MORE intellectually, the time to develop the work ethic, self-discipline and independence needed for college, the time to actively pursue interests, hobbies, and passions that you’ve had to put on hold due to academic stress. Spend time with friends and family. Take a cooking class. Intern in a field of interest. Get a part-time job. Take free online courses on Edx or Coursera. Try out ballroom dancing! It’s all about personal growth, people. And second semester is exciting in the sense that we seniors have the TIME to do all these things we couldn’t do in the past. At the same time, I believe one should continue to do well in school, because slacking off will only hurt you- if not immediately, then in the long run. Be proactive and self-motivated! Let your success as a student stem from your internal desire to do well, not from the external motive of grades and such.
And now I must conclude this post, for I have LOTS of goals I would like to achieve this winter break (separate post in the making delineating said goals). Until then, I hope what I’ve said has left you guys (seniors in particular) inspired and thinking!