An assessment of what MHS seniors should be doing post AP
Artwork by Steven Rome: “One remedy for post-AP senioritis may be senior internships. However, students should have other choices to conclude their high school careers, and schould not be required to participate in the internship program.”
We have finally reached that time of year — the time where gym is outside, flip-flops get caught in the overpass, and the chances of getting a spot in senior lot are the highest they will ever be. It is also the time of year when upperclassmen begin to beg the question “so what will we do after the A.P.?” This question—-which may drive AP teachers mad— addresses an important issue: what should our post A.P. seniors, and seniors in general, be doing for their final month of high school?
The senior internship program at Mamaroneck High School has grown popular over the past few years. This program allows seniors to apply for, and take part in a six week internship of their choosing instead of coming to school. While the program is optional at MHS, many other high schools in the area (among them Scarsdale and New Rochelle) have similar internship programs required of all seniors. These schools bring up a valid point: if everyone is required to do an internship, more seniors will be excited to take part in them, especially knowing that their friends aren’t at school having fun without them. FOMO (fear of missing out) seems like a somewhat frivolous argument in defense of mandatory internships, but when seniors know their time home is dwindling, missing out on any step of the fun is far from trivial.
While required senior internships may work at other schools, and have legitimate reasoning behind them, such standardization might not fit MHS’s character. One of the greatest aspects in which MHS students take pride is the freedom given to them at school. Easily exhibited by an open campus, free periods and open enrollment policy, freedom is central to the Mamaroneck culture. Forcing a senior internship poses serious limitations. And it is not to say that putting a kid into the “real world” and letting them explore their interests and apply what they have been taught is such an infringement of freedom. However, if some students don’t necessarily know what interests them, or have yet to discover something they are truly passionate about, is it fair to make them decide? In addition, if students are taking part in internships they aren’t passionate about, and not necessarily being engaged to their potential, do we truly want them representing MHS in the ‘real world’?
The general problem with forcing a kid to do an internship, and frankly the general problem with this time of year is motivation, or lack thereof. It may not be in MHS’s best interest (or realistic) to require all seniors to take part in an internship. And while students sprawled across the overpass may say otherwise, most would agree that it is in MHS’s best interest to keep its students engaged for the final month of school.
This doesn’t mean students would have to leave the MHS campus. What if MHS didn’t keep seniors outside its closed doors, but instead opened up its doors to new opportunities within the school? For seniors, this last month could be the final time to get something out of high school. Hypothetically seniors— those who did not want to take part in the internship program—could take seminars at school. It could be as simple as trying an elective you never got to—is clay really that hard? What actually goes on in PACE? So this is what my classmates have been doing in OSR all those years? Or new seminars could be conducted: “personal banking,” “putting together a resume.” In fact, teachers could create seminars of their own about something they are passionate about. This idea would allow students to learn without the pressure of grades or requirements. Students could learn just to learn.
The idea is rough, very rough. There are undoubtedly flaws and unrealistic measures. (Yes, senior teachers teach more than just seniors. Yes, seniors take classes other than A.P.s). However, this draft brings attention to some solid arguments. Mamaroneck High School takes pride in its freedom and the diversity of its student body. It seems unrealistic to force a whole graduating class to take part in the same activity. An internship shouldn’t be mandatory. Yet, more opportunities do not cut into the freedom of MHS students but rather enrich it.