The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Second Thoughts on Second Semester

Three simple, yet incredibly loaded words: second semester senior. This phrase has reached legendary proportions. Apparently, students can cut class on a regular basis with no consequences. Homework and exams? Unheard of. Overall, students believe that being a second semester senior grants you the right to give up on formal schooling and to experience true “freedom.” Well, guess again.

As much as we hate to, we will reveal the truth. Senior year is clearly the hardest year of your high school career. Stressing over SATs is nothing compared to what seniors go through when applying for college; researching potential colleges, filling out the senior profile, assembling letters of recommendations, rewriting countless essays, and stressing over deadlines drives you insane. Wait a minute – this list doesn’t include the physics project due in two days, the 200 pages of the Iliad that you have to annotate by tomorrow, and the calculus test you have to cram for because you’ve relied too much on Calc-Chat instead of working out the problems.

But enough of first semester because it’s already passed…on to second semester. Now the hardest part of your high school career is over; your grades “don’t matter anymore” and you’ve “finished” applying to all of the colleges. Maybe dropping your tough physics class to become an office TA sounds good. Failing a test is supposedly no longer an issue; there’ll be more tests to come to boost your grade, given that you even attempt to open your textbook and glance at the material in the future. Unfortunately, reality is different from the dream world we all want to live in.

This appealing yet elusive illusion helped us through first semester, but second semester classes are the same as first semester. Hardworking seniors feel that they can lighten up because they have a supposedly larger grade cushion. Yet, the reality is that classes become much harder with denser material, especially in AP classes; many seniors who relaxed at the beginning of the semester now face the reality of working hard for the rest of the year to bring their grades back from the abyss into the safe “C” or “B” haven, all while the prospect of being rescinded looms ominously in the background. Some students who’ve always maintained almost perfect grade reports are now lurking beside their mailboxes, scouting not for college letters but for dreaded cinch notices.

Not only does the curriculum increase in difficulty, but also senioritis rears its monstrous head once again. Those already struggling to maintain passing grades during first semester must fend off the incessant waves of laziness and indifference that grow exponentially each day. Shirking homework assignments and missing classes do not help, much less win favor with teachers. If at the end of the year, you are begging to round borderline grades, your teachers will remember all the times you slacked off instead of paying attention.

Thirdly, you’re still not done with college business. Forgotten about scholarships? Your parents will force you to apply for financial aid and as many scholarships as possible, even if it means writing a new, pointless essay and watching your precious time fly away to qualify for a $100 bowling scholarship. Applications are incredibly annoying to fill out, asking pointless questions and requesting details that you’ve never heard of. We haven’t even mentioned the most important part: college decisions. Incessant “college talks” and anxiety can prevent us from even enjoying the second part of senior year. And even when decisions come out, who knows if we’ll all be happy with them.

Senior year is undoubtedly the most stressful year yet. From keeping up with English class annotations to applying to your dream college, it’s easy to succumb to the senior stereotype and crumble. It’s not to say that you can’t enjoy senior year; it’s just that classes and life itself don’t stop moving. But you didn’t work this hard for three-and-a-half years for nothing. Don’t let it all go down the drain for three and a half months of transient pleasure.

Written by Sonya John & Joseph Teng
Mar 19, 2010 at 02:32 PM

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