“I’ve had senioritis since freshman year” is a common joke among many RHS students. Even freshmen feel as though they deserve relief from their schoolwork. Senioritis is somewhat of an epidemic that infects the graduating class during the second semester of their senior year. College acceptances and decisions are in and seniors, even if they don’t know which school they are going to, have options and choices. For seniors who have worked nonstop for three and a half years, the idea of not having to work as hard because goals were achieved and milestones were reached seems very inviting.
However, previous Ridgewood High School Students that have graduated warn seniors to not have too much fun second semester, as they could risk getting an email from their college threatening to unenroll them if their grades drop any further. The chances of this happening are somewhat small, but there is a little voice in the back of most seniors’ heads reminding them that this year they could be the one kid who was kicked out of the college they were accepted into even before they begin their freshman year.
Early Action and Early Decision applicants heard back from their schools in mid-December or January. Early Action is a non-binding agreement where students can submit an application by November 1st and hear back earlier than Regular Decision applicants, who find out in March. Early Decision is a binding contract and is only for students who fell in love with one school and are positive they want to go there. Whether it be happy or upsetting news, most students are relieved they found out. “I was so worried about not getting into my Early Decision school,” confided a senior girl. “I just wanted to hear back. I didn’t get in, and honestly, it ended up being a huge relief and I’m just happy I don’t have to think about it anymore since I got into other schools.” Now, those Early Action and Early Decision applicants have a better idea of where they are going to spend the next few years. With the security of acceptances to schools, whether just one or multiple, seniors are finding it more difficult to summon the enthusiasm to work as hard as they did in the first half of the year A senior who wishes to remain anonymous reaffirmed, “It’s hard to keep having motivation now that I’ve gotten into colleges.” Senioritis is difficult to become immune to, which is understandable considering the amount of work students are given as juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen.
The school offers a promising reward for those who don’t succumb to completely slacking off second semester. Seniors who have an A as a final grade in their classes are exempt from the final exam. It is rare that a student would be able to maintain an A average while not putting in the work. This means that seniors have to continue to study and not slack off until the second to last week in school, right before finals.
Getting into college is a big accomplishment, and after working so hard to reach that goal for three and a half years, seniors should be able to enjoy other things besides schoolwork for their last semester as high schoolers. Keeping up a social life is a skill that students should have before going into college, and for some, second semester is when students meet people that they think should have been their friends all throughout high school. It may not be the end of the world if seniors are able better balance their schoolwork and non-academic endeavours after college acceptances and deposits.
For seniors who have been studying un-interrupted since freshman year, the second semester is like a light at the end of the tunnel. All the difficult milestones will have already been reached, especially by May and June. Second semester is a well-deserved break for those who have dedicated so much time into their schoolwork. It is important to recognize that one has worked hard and seen it pay off, but going so far into the deep end, as mentioned above, can be harmful. Many people have been studying for the benefit of their grade as to reach the end goal of college. But second semester gives seniors a chance to learn for themselves and not just for colleges.
Graphic: Nicole Kye