By Katherine Heaney
We are second-semester seniors. With midterms graded and the third quarter underway, grades officially “don’t matter.” Over the next few months, the typical symptoms of senioritis will set in: regularly wearing sweatpants to school, skipping classes to go on East Ave. runs, getting a space in senior lot after 8 a.m., and of course, lacking academic motivation. After years of hard work, we have earned the right to celebrate and unwind during our last months as seniors. But there is a fine line between enjoying our final days and squandering them.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the library with an underclassman while creating a study guide. She asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was studying for my midterms.
“But you’re in college,” she replied with a confused tone.
She proceeded to ask me by how much I was planning on letting my grades drop this quarter. I told her I wasn’t “planning” on getting worse grades, but that if they went down, I wouldn’t be concerned.
I care little for the average on my final report card. But if I said I didn’t care about high school anymore, that would be an absolute lie.
Although the prospect of relaxing for the remainder of the year is appealing, I can’t help but feel uneasy at the concept of “not trying.” From a young age, it has been ingrained in my mind that I must put forth my maximum effort in order to receive adequate grades for the increasingly competitive college admissions process. Receiving an offer of admission to my early decision school lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. While it alleviated much of my daily stress, I still get nervous and laugh and cry whilst walking into a test or turning in a big assignment because that’s just who I am. I know that my GPA is no longer being calculated and that the chance of my acceptance being rescinded is highly unlikely. I don’t want to “keep trying” for others. I want to do it for me.
With college acceptances a constant point of discussion, it feels like high school is already in our rearview. But we still have the greatest part of high school left to conquer. Why would I choose to be “done” when I can savor the end? Here lies the opportunity to appreciate our classes for their content and rigor, to obtain a strong foundation without the constant worry of what grades we will receive. What might “look good” on the Common App will no longer influence our academic and extracurricular decisions. I won’t measure my senior year with a number; I care little for the average on my final report card. But if I said I didn’t care about high school anymore, that would be an absolute lie.
Since kindergarten, every year on the first day of school my mom has taken the same photo of my brother and me standing on our front porch, backpacks in hand. This year, with my brother in college, I posed for the shot alone. It dawned on me that this would be the last first-day-of-school picture. I pasted the 13th and final photo into the designated section of my childhood scrapbook. I read the pictures like the story of my life; some smiles had front teeth missing or braces, but every smile was that of a young girl eager to go to school. I felt a tear run down my cheek. It was like watching my childhood flash before my eyes, because in so many ways it has.
As graduation draws nearer, such bittersweet realizations and heightened emotions will become increasingly prominent. I have lived my whole life in a sheltered community going to school with many of the same kids since preschool. The thought of living and learning somewhere else is absolutely terrifying and at the same time beyond exciting. I’m crying as I write this because I’m not sure if it’s really sunk in or if it won’t until we get our diplomas or when we move into our dorms, but we are so close. I will always be so grateful for the knowledge and experiences I have gained growing up here, and I won’t take these final days for granted. I know this is starting to sound like an early goodbye, but I feel that it is important to make the most of Mamaroneck High School while we still can before senioritis takes full effect.