Editorials and Opinions

Seniors set the tone

By Jenny Gerstner
Published: June 2010

There are simply no more limits for the senior class.

Take, for example, a certain senior in my French class, who was absent two days in a row last week. On the third day, she walked into class slightly sunburned, shoulders dark and peeling. She sighed as she sat down, crinkling her nose as she yawned. A small shoulder bag hung loosely from her arm; she glanced down towards it when she saw me staring. “Oh, yeah, she shrugged. “I don’t bring books to school anymore.

I laughed. “Where have you been?

“Um¦ she thought for a minute. “Monday, I didn’t feel like coming to school. Yesterday, I went to Nantasket Beach with some people. She looked up at the board. “Damn, we had homework? I didn’t do it. She smirked. “Oh, well. Sorry, Madame.

I watched as she slumped over in her seat and put her head down on the desk. “Oh, did you go out last night, too? I joked.

“Yeah, she replied casually, turning her head towards me. “We all went out for dinner.

Oh, okay then. She had missed a quiz, yesterday, too, but it didn’t really matter. She had long since checked out.

I am still here, though, along with the rest of the school, with probably more work now than at any point thus far in the year.

The great irony lies in the contrast between the grades, that those just a year older can be so free, so limitless, while the rest of us remain chained down in perhaps the most crucial point of the academic system. And yet, the struggle does not hold contempt for the freedom of the senior class; they have, after all, passed through all that I complain of now, the work and the endlessness that got them to where they currently stand.

The tension instead involves the dynamics of the school that the senior class, they above us, have always, in some sense, led the grade below, setting the tone for those who follow.

We have never known a school where we have not followed the grade above, their actions emulated by us the younger, attempting to retrace the path that they had already begun.

We have continued to follow them through the years with the assumption that we can do what they have already done; now, though, we can no longer follow blindly, leaping in our freedom to wherever we may fall. Consequence still exists for us, though it has disappeared for them.

As a result, we are forced to veer from the path we have always followed, but we do not know quite how to forge ahead without the guide we have come to rely on.

There now exists the struggle between the class we have always followed and the responsibilities we still bear, those that the seniors are rid of.

They have finished what they need to do and are simply unaware that they have set the school’s tone to one of informality and unimportance; and like sheep in a meadow, we have followed them to this point, edging towards the complete freedom they hold now.

We seem to ignore what our responsibility has taught us: that while they will not be hurt jumping off the edge, we most certainly will be.

They have been accepted to college; we, however, have not. And so we will continue to stretch between the two ends, barely halting before we crash into the freedom we want.

So, seniors, take your beach trips and skip your classes. I’ll be here when you get back.

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