January 22, 2013

Don’t Get Senioritis

If you have finished your applications and you’ve even gotten accepted to a college, bought the t-shirt, and have been daydreaming about decorating your dorm room, the pressure for next year is off. Now, the temptation to become the classic “second-semester senior” is great. I wish that simply saying “It’s important to keep up the positive habits and work ethic that got you accepted to school” would do the trick. Maybe it will be for some of you. And I know that scare tactics aren’t always successful, but here’s the truth:

It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s like anything else: You don’t want it to happen to you. You read the stories and you say, “I’d never do anything that stupid.” What sorts of things?

  • Skipping classes – especially half-year courses – that have an attendance policy, being dropped from the course, and therefore not fulfilling the graduation requirement for your high school. No petition process, no diploma. Summer school might save your college admission, but if you’ve been depending on a scholarship, that goes out the window.
  • Not fulfilling senior projects or community service hours required for graduation.
  • Succumbing to cheating on tests or plagiarizing papers to take the easy way out.
  • Deciding that you no longer have to study for tests or turn in papers so that your grades plummet significantly.
  • Behaving improperly or breaking rules on senior trips or the prom.
  • Getting involved in illegal activities that lead to suspension, expulsion or arrest.

I wish that I could say that this list was fabricated out of thin air. However, after having taught high school for 35 years, I can assure you that every item on this list is accompanied by the memory of the tearful face of a high school senior whose college dreams were derailed or even shattered.

So set your alarm clocks, get up and go to school, enjoy what you are learning, be a role model in your teams and clubs, and make good memories of your last year — for yourself, your family, your classmates, and your school.

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