BY EMILY CHAIET
I’m not much of a runner, but I’ve been competing in the longest marathon of my life: high school. As I reach the last semester of my senior year, I see the finish line glistening less than a mile ahead of me, I can hear the cheers of those waiting to see me finish and yet even with such a short distance left, I know it’s not over. I know that these last few yards still matter, but why do I have to run to get there? After three and a half years of working as hard as I possibly could, why is it so bad to walk the rest of the way?
A couple months ago, I was accepted into my dream school, Northwestern University, early decision. Ever since my acceptance, countless friends and family members have asked when I’m going to stop studying for tests and completing my homework. I thought I would never fall victim to the senioritis plague, but every time I crack open a textbook to study for one of the many assessments I have every week, I can’t feel the same motivation that I used to in school. It’s not that I don’t care about my grades anymore, but after three and a half years of endless studying and minimal hours of sleep, there’s not much fuel left in my tank to give my last semester of high school my all.
Now I’m not saying that every senior should get senioritis and I am certainly not encouraging it. However, I think that senioritis is a normal and healthy reaction to years of pressure to build the perfect college resume. Balancing loads of AP classes with extracurricular activities certainly can put a strain on any student.
As more AP and AICE classes are added to the Bay’s curriculum, the stress that students face has built up, and the need for time to relax becomes even more prevalent. A 2009 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of all teens, about 45 percent, said they were stressed by school pressures. In fact, high school teens have been reported to feel more stressed out than adults. According to “The Huffington Post” while adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8, which far exceeds the healthy stress level of 3.9.
The amount of stress put on students makes catching senioritis inevitable. It is also reported that 31 percent of teens report feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress, 30 percent say that they feel sad or depressed as a result of stress, and 36 percent report feeling tired or fatigued because of stress.
Of course it is important for seniors to not give up completely. They should still work to pass all the of their classes so that they can maintain their college acceptances and graduate. Seniors shouldn’t just give up on their classes completely and stop doing homework; however, they should spend less time stressing about school and more time enjoying their last few months of high school before they have to leave for college. These last few months should be a time for self-reflection for seniors. It should be a time to avoid the stress of high school while still putting in some effort to get passing grades in their classes.
As I reach the finish line and finish my last few months of high school, I’ve realized that what is most important is being proud of the work that I’ve done. I know not to let senioritis make all those years go to waste; yet I know it’s okay if I don’t put in all of my effort when finishing the rest of high school. It’s been a hard race to run, but I know that even if I walk the rest of the way, I’ll have my head held high and look back on a race I was proud to run.