By Samantha Donat:
I have spent the last 12 years of my life living as a “goody-two-shoes.” I rarely do anything considered “unproductive” after school, and I have recurring nightmares about being late for class or forgetting my work at home. A few weeks ago, I told my mom I didn’t want to go to a certain class in the morning, and she replied, “I would excuse you, but I know you’ll just end up going anyway.” Essentially, school has consumed my life continuously for far too long, and I’m sure that I’m not the only person at Gunn who feels this way. So as soon as I finished my first semester finals this year, I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of being a—gasp—“second semester senior.”
I foolishly thought that I would not care about school anymore, given that my first-semester grades were already set in stone and my college applications all showed little green triangles. I could slack off, get decent grades and spend all of my free time doing anything I wanted. However, I didn’t realize that second semester seniorhood would not come to me easily.
[pullquote]However, I didn’t realize that second semester seniorhood would not come to me easily.[/pullquote]
Once the first day of second semester finally arrived, I impatiently waited for that wonderful feeling of laziness to overcome me. I waited. And I waited. But the feeling never really came. Then I realized that the reason I didn’t feel like a true second semester senior was because I was still behaving like I was in first semester. I instinctively continued to pay attention in class and study until my brain hurt, all without even thinking about it. After years of working my butt off to maintain perfect grades and an extensive list of extracurricular activities, I couldn’t help but continue to care about school.
Finding the right balance between caring and slacking off is easier said than done. During the first few weeks of second semester, I swayed from one end of the spectrum to the next. At one point, I was able to break free from my tortured, academic mindset, and I succeeded in barely studying for an upcoming calculus test. I spent my free time doing things of minimal importance, and it was fantastically liberating—I was truly a second semester senior! But the feeling was fleeting, as the next morning I dragged myself into class with my stomach full of dread. I was completely unprepared, and after struggling through the test, the feeling only amplified. The horrible sentience of failure followed me around for the rest of the week, and I came to the conclusion that those few hours of freedom were in no way worth suffering through such a painful academic experience. Long story short, whether you’re a first semester freshman or a second semester senior, it still quite frankly sucks to get a bad grade.
Although I’m still wrestling to find the appropriate balance between second semester seniorhood and the undying academia within me, I’ve discovered several important points that all seniors should embrace. Most importantly, don’t stress yourself out. Will it kill you to screw up on a few tests or quizzes? Not at all. In fact, it’s a significant experience in life that you will have to deal with eventually, so you might as well get it over with now when it won’t really impact your grades anyway. Make sure that you are you are enjoying yourself, and be sure to spend time with your friends and family—you only have a few more months with them. Learn a few last things while you’re still legally stuck in high school, but embrace your freedom and take advantage of these remaining months.