How to be a productive second-semester senior

Maia Schwallie, co-opinions editor

Senioritis: the infamous disease that often overtakes second-semester seniors, plaguing us with apathy, laziness, and a general lack of motivation. Teachers dread it, GPAs drop because of it and colleges ask for final transcripts to make sure their prospective students survive the disease relatively unscathed.

But even with all the negative connotations surrounding this word, I think it’s time seniors start embracing senioritis.

For many of us, we spent our four years of high school striving for straight A’s and padding our resumes with so many extracurriculars we barely had time to sleep. The fun of learning was often overshadowed by the societal expectation to attend an elite college or achieve some great success before we leave our hometown.

The pressure to treat school as an avenue towards great success or status rather than a means to explore passions is absurd, so it’s no shock that seniors are burnt out by the time these pressures are taken away.

Our second-semester thinking often follows somewhere along the lines of: “Well, I already got into college, so my grades don’t matter anymore, so I have no reason to try in school.”

Despite how self-defeating this thought process might sound, I believe this type of thinking makes a lot of sense. After years of hard work, we should get the chance to take a mental break from the stress and anxiety that often surrounds keeping up with grades and extracurriculars.

Personally, I’m relieved that after all of these years I can finally spend my time doing things I actually enjoy rather than continuing my taxing quest to achieve perfect grades. Sure, I still try my best in classes I find exciting or useful, but losing the pressure to work on material that does not interest me has been freeing.

I no longer need to waste hours studying for classes that bore me to death or twist my brain into knots over the anxiety of colleges seeing a B on my transcript.

Truly, none of that matters when you’re a second semester senior.

So to all current and soon-to-be seniors, I urge you to use your senioritis to your advantage. Spend less time on classes that don’t interest you and more time engaging in activities that you find meaningful.

Hang out with friends as much as you can before you head off to different schools. Try out that new hobby you’ve always been a little bit scared of. Teach yourself a new instrument or learn how to cook. Get more sleep. Take walks and put all of your extra time into the classes you actually feel passionate about.

When school isn’t centered around grades, it can be so much more meaningful. Your main priority at school could be socializing with friends or bonding with your teachers, rather than achieving some ideal GPA.

School is so often fraught with anxiety and deadlines, but this is the one chance you have to forget all of that. Seniors, make the most of your last week of high school. Juniors, take pride in the fact that you’ve done the hard work throughout the last three years. Now it’s time to just relax and await the high of second-semester senior year.

And when senioritis inevitably infects you with its apathy and procrastination, treat it with passion and meaning. It is not a disease to be scared of; it is one you should strive to embrace.