Seniors struggle with school as they approach graduation

Every morning I look in the mirror and witness a pair of tired eyes staring back at me. Behind those eyes sits a slouched frame, a short temper, and an even shorter sense of patience. These symptoms often accompany the flu, or some similar, debilitating illness, yet I’m not talking about your normal, diagnosed disease. This condition strikes seniors across America as they prepare to enter the next stage of their lives, and is colloquially referred to as senioritis.

What is senioritis? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, senioritis refers to “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.” It often strikes as students begin to envision the end of their education and the beginning of their post-high school years. The problem with such a mindset is that, according to aspeneducation.crchealth.com, as students enter college they find themselves unaccustomed to the workload due to their slacking during their previous year. This seriously endangers the education many students work years to earn, yet the problem continues.

“I think it’s because I know that I can get the vast majority of my work done, even though it’s all in one night. And I know that even if I don’t turn a few things, or do a shoddy work on homework, I’ll still be able to get an A,” senior Emma Zelus said, Zelus is currently a candidate for valedictorian.

A contributing factor of the “post-high school” mentality is that many seniors receive college acceptance letters a little over halfway through the school year. These letters stand as a de facto graduation for many students because, due to high expectations regarding college and secondary education, high school has become little more valuable than a three and a half year tryout period for college. Students no longer worry about earning their diploma because, in the long run, it’s practically worthless for students that want to do more than work as a cashier for the next 10 years. So when students receive these letters they represent a finish line for them. A “Good job kid, you passed high school. Now go earn the education that matters.”

A common start to every question a senior asks is– why? Why should I show up to class? Why should I turn that homework in? Why should I wake up at seven every morning? Why should I care about high school? I’m done. I was accepted already. It’s painful as a student to sit in meaningless classes because you had the foresight to take college classes to get ahead, or because you made sure to cover all your required classes before your senior year. What type of reward is a minimum of four classes after I’ve spent three and a half years working towards something I’ve already accomplished.

Now maybe high school worked 50 years ago when a high school diploma and a “can do” attitude could get you a job almost anywhere, but now we live in the collegiate age. The ideas perpetuated by the people in power don’t work anymore. The world is far too expansive for a high school graduate to thrive in it.

I know, I know. Four years of high school, that’s the deal, and I’m not saying high school needs to be shortened, or that collegiate bound students should somehow get a pass on the last four months of school. What I do believe is that the end of the year should be in someway changed to support the specific interests and needs of seniors. We don’t need to sit in a class designed to feed us preplanned information when, come march, nobody in the room is listening anyways. What we need as we step out from the safe harbor of public school are seminars and speakers designed to teach us about the real world. How exactly do I do taxes? How do I apply for a job? How do I make a resumé? It’s these types of questions that scare students, not the questions found in those textbooks assigned to us at the beginning of the year.

Beyond even the practical questions students face are the more academic topics you can address. Speakers on events happening around the world, or voluntary classes that students can join for a few weeks to learn a new skill they didn’t have a chance to over the past few years.

With a few changes perhaps senior year becomes something students look forward to instead of dreading. Perhaps those letters will again be cause of celebration instead of misery for AP teachers everywhere as they plan their second semester of classes.

Maybe school can once again become a place of learning, instead of some prolonged form of a societal tryout.

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