A fix for senioritis
I thought senioritis was a term meant only for high schoolers. After getting into the college of one’s dreams, it becomes much harder to sit through high school classes that no longer have any meaning whatsoever. There may be some incentive if they are Advanced Placement classes, with the exams bearing down, but otherwise, it’s a time to sit back and coast – especially once the weather gets warm. College is a different story, however.
Or so I thought.
Grade point average actually is a big deal, unfortunately. Graduating Magna Cum Laude really does have its benefits for graduate school, law school or even just for opening doors. Thus, there is an incentive to work up until the end.
Or so I thought.
What really has happened this year is something a little different altogether. In fact, it is not much different from high school. Going to a high school directly in the city of Boston makes it hard to find the motivation to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and get to school. I was lucky enough to snag a job in the Red Sox front office that was willing to pay me overtime. It got to the point where I would skip out on school to go to work. The decision was between hanging out at Fenway Park or going to Chemistry with a teacher who could not care less. This was a pretty easy call. There were many other distractions: the Fenway movie theater, basketball or just causing trouble downtown.
Four years later, there are fewer distractions – this being Western Massachusetts – but just as little incentive to get to class. A thesis will not just write itself, although too many hours have already been wasted begging the computer gods for something to just happen.
The worst part is, though, I screwed up. The approach I took to college is not something I would recommend. So, for any underclassmen, heed the warning signs. This may be late for a what-not-to-do column about the creeping disease of senioritis, or a little early for a note from a departing senior, but it’s the peak of the semester, mid-terms are approaching and my burning desire to learn is fading. Fast.
Two things should be required of incoming freshmen. First, they should be forced to understand the extent of the general education requirements. Sure, we were beat to death with it at orientation, but a little more of a beating would help. Second, they should be given an extensive crash course on SPIRE. There should be tutorials about how to take one class and make it apply for various different uses. In my case, it is not my inability to work the system, but an unwillingness to pay any attention to it. This mistake should be avoided at all costs.
When choosing classes, it is better to get required stuff out of the way, as soon as possible. This must not fall on deaf ears. Get them done. Taking a language requirement, a Global Education requirement and a Physical Science requirement course along with an Honors Capstone course is not the desired path, especially when an Astronomy test and a thesis draft are due on the same day. Today.
In high school, there is very little room to maneuver when it comes to classes. In college, there is near complete independence. I took classes that appealed to me. History courses on Africa, the Middle East and Ireland were all interesting and helped create my worldview – down with England! But due to my own inability to work SPIRE, I will graduate one class short of a History minor. I have more political science courses that count for nothing on my transcript than political science minors are probably required to take.
I always defended this approach to college, and will continue to do so to some extent, but with the stress of a thesis and a parental requirement to graduate Magna Cum Laude, I have begun questioning my decisions. Waking up everyday to attend two classes that will do absolutely nothing for me has resulted in creeping senioritis. From one stressed senior to future stressed seniors, measure twice, cut once.
Nick Milano is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.