Life can be stressful. Running from class to class from AM to sixth, cramming in knowledge in 56-minute intervals, shuffling to work, soccer practice, community service … oftentimes it seems as if teenagers are left without a break. I get that. But the part I find disturbing is that high school culture has developed a faux illness to go along with this overworked mentality: senioritis.
Senioritis might “strike” as early as freshman year or as late as second semester senior year, but nevertheless most Samo students admit to becoming infected at some point in their high school careers.
I honestly haven’t.
Senioritis stems from students “burning out” after pummeling through high school, arms outstretched, books tucked tightly under the arm, full speed ahead. When I look at those around me I notice a fundamental difference between their philosophies toward school and mine.
My theory is that if someone has senioritis it is because they’ve been working most of the time towards some far off goal, oftentimes pushed by family, social pressures or friends. Students don’t typically take six APs for the love of learning; they take them to make themselves look better for colleges.
Everything is about prestige: which college you go to, which graduate school you attend, which job you get, how much money you’ll make, how attractive your kids will be, how “successful” your life will be.
I’m not burned out, “suffering” on the beach with senioritis, because I set my priorities differently.
I push myself because I genuinely care about each of my classes, and I enjoy having my mind stretched to new capacities, even if my peers will whine that “we’ll never use this again in our lives.” The problem with today’s schooling is that students do not find joy in what they are doing. We can’t live with doctors who have memorized facts in order to receive a PhD, we need people who love what they’re learning and who can think of new solutions for themselves. Students are sacrificing their mental and emotional well-being for some potential prospect in the future.
Well, I have some news. There’s no such thing as a future, or even a past. Working your butt off junior or senior year isn’t going to make up for slacking off freshman year, and it’s not going to guarantee you a perfect life either. Nothing can. You can’t live in the past because then it would no longer be the past, it would be the present. And you can’t spend your time wistfully daydreaming about the moment you’ll receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry, because — disregarding your dreams of grandeur — by the time you get there, that moment will also be the present.
There really is no time but the present — literally. All we have in life is the moment in front of us. Personally, I’m not willing to sacrifice my happiness in high school for a possible achievement in the future. I motivate myself every day for myself — not for someone or something. Giving up once I get accepted into college is inconceivable.