March 17, 2010

Senioritis? Oh shut up.

You've done everything you were supposed to do: you have applied; you have been admitted to at least one great option college/university; you have always dotted every "i" and crossed every "t". And now you want your rightful rest. You think you have earned it, right? I'm sure you're not considering anything unreasonable, miss a few days of school here, a few homework assignments there, sleep a little in class, stop reading the literature . . . I know where you're coming from. Trust me. I do. This is what I have to say about the dreaded (and all too familiar) "senioritis":

When you're a senior-- especially a reasonably intelligent one-- and you know that this process is coming and that when it's all settled and college seems just around the corner and high school seems like something of the past, more for the plebeians of the world, don't forget that you signed a small contract with each university that you were admitted to, stating that you would continue to do satisfactorily (this is the university's concept of "satisfactory", not yours) in all of your current year courses, maintaining standards which you had achieved in your previous years. In other words, you better have your act together enough so that your transcript does not look like you were completely absent for Spring semester of senior year.

First of all, let me say that four years of high school is a long time. I think that three years, in many cases, would be plenty of time to be locked in this adolescent incubator. However, the concept of senioritis is confused by so many. People think it's an excuse when really it's NOT a real psychological (or physical) ailment. All senioritis means is that you're tired of school, you want to be finished, BUT you know that you have to keep working toward the goal that you had for yourself LONG BEFORE senioritis set in. Senioritis is NOT an EXCUSE. It is a revelation that you have to work harder than your mind might want. Deal with it. To an adult or an educator, just uttering the word: "s-e-n-i-o-r-i-t-i-s" makes one seem just a fraction less intelligent than they were prior to speaking it. Second, granted, if you're usually an "A" or an "A/B" student and you get one or even two "C"'s during Spring of your final year, it may not have a negative impact on your admission. But there is never a way to know. Earning an "F" or a "D" in an academic class is totally unacceptable and may even prevent your high school graduation.

But the bigger question here is Why?

Is learning really about the goal of college admission? If that's the case, you're missing the point of it all and I'm afraid college is going to be a big waste of time and resources for you. Why would you want to stop achieving and learning in the final few months of high school. An approach like this can actually create MORE anxiety in a student than the actual school work, itself. There is a complete curriculum in high school that, whether I agree with it or not, is what you should be focused on. For many high school seniors, if you were accepted to an institution of repute, then you're probably taking AP or IB courses that have significant, knowledge-based exams at the end of the year. If you're in Honor's classes, you must have a final or a final paper that will be expected of you. In most academic courses (i.e. English IV, Government and Economics, etc...), whether or not they're AP or Honor's or Regular-level, they matter and the information you should be learning is a part of that foundation of knowledge that ALL colleges and universities will expect their freshmen to have.

I don't like seeming as if I am a man who blindly preaches the benefits of education. I realize that right now, in our country, there is a significant movement to debilitate the education elitists- which I would probably be considered as I do enjoy being around people who read often, write clearly, think critically and can reference interesting ideas in order to give unique perspective to their arguments. However, no matter what anyone says, and I have probably written this before on this very blog, education is the one thing that NO ONE can EVER take away from us. It is what makes people interesting (education in ALL forms, experience and the classroom) and it is what our world demands of each of us as we become more complicated in our governing, technology, industry and individual lives. Bottom line: finish your senior year with energy and motivation. Not only will you not have to worry about what your college of choice is going to think when they see your grades (because your grades will be great) but you will feel better for being the person who actually takes responsibility and assignment seriously. There are plenty of opportunities during senior year to have fun with your classmates. Take advantage of all of them. But never forget that the reason you are even able to have so much fun is because you have worked hard every day leading up to the fun.
Thanks for reading and enjoy these last few months!

March 8, 2010


Sometimes mass marketing is accomplished for me.

enough said . . .

Brady Norvall, M.A.
Education Counseling