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Editorials and Opinions

Senior Slump is a well-deserved respite

By Jake Palmer
Published: February 2010

The very concept of Senior Slump inspires, and it isn’t just the appeal of an attractive alliteration that is so compelling; rather, Senior Slump’s most scintillating qualities lie in the hope it gives to generations of South students.

I first heard of Senior Slump at the end of eighth grade, and throughout my high school career, the idea of second semester slump has been the light at the end of a tunnel. As a freshman, I was persuaded to work harder, to put in that extra effort, because I knew that as long as I got good grades then, I could relax once I applied to college. Sophomore and junior year, that sense of passionate yearning for easier times intensified.

Point being, most people, myself included, work better when there is something pleasant to look forward to. Months of drudgery at the tail end of a high school is nowhere near as uplifting a prospect as the promise of four months of leisure time. The hope Senior Slump bestows on the oppressed underclassmen cannot be overstated.

As many disgruntled seniors point out, however, Senior Slump does not necessarily fulfill its promise. AP exams still loom on the horizon, and many teachers, conscious of their seniors’ desire to slump, up the ante and assign more work.

To this I say, the APs aren’t until May, so worrying about those may as well be put off until April. And teachers will be teachers; there’s nothing students can do to change that, no matter how vigorously they slump.

Even so, Senior Slump, or at least the idea of it, must be maintained. Whether or not the experience is as blissful and relaxing as it promised to be is irrelevant; what matters is that it encourages so many students to work harder beforehand.

Permit me to explain why slump exists. In life, we rub our noses repeatedly into the metaphorical grindstone to ensure an easier future.

Whether seniors have applied or been accepted to college, or have decided on a different path, by the second half of senior year, the majority of seniors have decided on some kind of post-high school trajectory.

And then we have to labor in college to get grades good enough to establish a career we enjoy. We toil in said career to ensure an easy retirement, or at least to provide for the family. Once that is secure, we can finally relax, maybe go to Dunkin’ Donuts once or twice, or every day.

Obviously grades do still matter. If you are caught failing all classes, for example, or stealing penguins from the New England Aquarium, then the repercussions might (will) be severe. A general loosening of the standards, however, can be acceptable.

The Newtonian high school mentality is, and has been for three and a half years for seniors, work, work, work. So maybe let yourself slide a few rungs down the ladder of success, take a few steps away from the tempest, and sail across Crystal Lake.

In case it hasn’t occurred to all those stressed seniors out there, it’s your senior year. Enjoy it, try something different, turn over a new leaf. If you’ve been assiduously studying for the past four years, then take a well deserved break. Try to get voted biggest party animal or best tattoo.

We have been in school for nearly 13 years’€and this is the last year in secondary school. I know that personally, I certainly don’t want my lasting memory of Newton Public Schools to be one of endless academic hardship. I want to look back and say to myself,  “Self, I had a good time senior year’€I’m glad we slumped.

Take it from a senior who is pumped for slump’€Senior Slump deserves to stay.

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