You Are Not Your Senioritis
I met senioritis during the second semester of my senior year.
We got along just fine.
Let’s face it, high school is a race against the clock. With each passing year, the season of college applications draws closer to the horizon. It is a time in which the culmination of your progress as a student is put on display for admissions representatives to see. For some, the process is just another step in life. For others, it is the pinnacle of their experience as a student.
For me, it was a chance to prove that all of my hard work and dedication would pay off in the end. After transferring to a private institution from a public school as a sophomore, I was committed to being my best self. I enrolled in extracurriculars. I put extreme effort into my athletics. I befriended the faculty and began to shape the young woman I would become.
And then, during my last year, I decided to try tackling the belly of the beast – AP Statistics. Although mathematics have never been my strong suit, I believed that with the right friends and support, I could conquer anything. Luckily for me, I was surrounded by a class full of fellow seniors and a handful of juniors. We banded together during that first semester. We held study sessions, tutored each other, and made jokes to get through the painstaking agenda of finding confidence intervals and standard deviations. As the semester ended, I found that simply walking into that classroom was draining me. I was slowly slipping away from the student I once was.
We took our midterm – a practice AP exam – and I scored far better than I had anticipated. We were told that this score could potentially be what we received on the actual exam. And just like that, senioritis set in.
The next semester was a mixture of many things: forming a familial bond with my class, decorating our grad caps, and praying that our teachers would understand that we were second semester seniors and ready for a break. They did, for the most part.
The AP curriculum, however, did not.
In my mind, I had already passed the Statistics exam. Some of my friends and I were led to believe that the grades we received that semester did not matter quite as much. We took that idea and ran with it. After all, we had been accepted into college! The class became a regular period of watching YouTube behind computer screens, swindling our instructor into going on tangents, and waiting for the clock to run down so we could relish in our oncoming freedom.
The warning reminded me just how lucky I was to attend college in the first place. For many first-generation students like myself, it is difficult to pursue higher education without an example to follow or through sheer willpower.
My school of choice, Pomona College, has been repeatedly declared the best liberal arts college in the country. Although I had been completely honored at my acceptance, I truly did not take into account that the student they had accepted was the same one they expected to see in the fall. My fantasy of freedom and a careless year was shattered when I received an inquiry from the school. Needless to say, they had seen that my AP Statistics grade had fallen by a complete letter and desired an explanation. I was absolutely petrified. My parents were disappointed. I was on the edge of my seat until I apologized for my behavior and they replied with understanding.
The warning reminded me just how lucky I was to attend college in the first place. For many first-generation students like myself, it is difficult to pursue higher education without an example to follow or through sheer willpower. In reality, self-motivation is a tricky concept to handle. It takes a lot of grit, time, and the ability to see the bigger picture. Sometimes, we just lose sight of what we are striving for.
Senioritis slipped into a box as I packed for college and decided to tag along for a bit.
It is understandably easy to be overwhelmed by moving away from home. Among trying to meet new people, find textbooks, and budget your money, it can be a challenge to get back into the swing of studying. The remnants of my senioritis tricked me into believing that I would never be the student I was back in high school again. It took me weeks to remember that most of my free time was for doing work, not watching Netflix. I soon found out that weekends held valuable time that I was wasting in the social sphere. I began to feel incompetent. I thought that I didn’t belong at Pomona – that was the girl from the fall.
Today, I am learning once again to recognize the woman I see in the mirror. The same one who knew how to balance work and play. The one that could conquer giants.
Most schools have excellent support systems that all students should take advantage of. After a while, I reached out to my First Class Dean and found that some guidance and encouragement from an adviser were exactly what I needed. She reminded me that I was still the wonderful person Pomona had accepted and that I did not have to let this frustration with myself become me. I assure you, it was not a speedy process. It took me months to get out of my bed and venture to other study spaces. I took notes from my peers and tried not to envy their abilities, but to adopt and learn from them. Slowly and steadily, I watched my senioritis pack its bags and go.
No matter how hard senioritis hits you as you graduate, it is not who you are. Everyone has the capacity to be any type of student they desire. It simply takes work and a healthy mindset. Today, I am learning once again to recognize the woman I see in the mirror. The same one who knew how to balance work and play. The one that could conquer giants.
What matters, second-semester seniors, is to never forget who you are.
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