Ah yes, the home stretch, the light at the end of the tunnel, the finish line: it’s getting to be that time of year when the end comes into view. With the buds and the dandelions comes an itch to be DONE already, to be at the beach, the lake, the cabin, the concert, the ballgame- anywhere but school. How can you do more than just stay on track during these pivotal last few months—how can you excel as the academic calendar winds down? Here are some thoughts:
A job well done makes summer even better. Look, I’ll be honest: I wasn’t exactly the world’s best student back when I was in high school so let me just tell you from experience that having to be tutored over the summer because you blew it at the end of the school year really, really stinks. I remember the math tutor’s car pulling into our driveway right when the baseball game was about to start. In those moments, all the “what ifs” would start running through my head. “What if I’d studied more? What if I’d been more disciplined?” Outside, I could hear the sounds of summer, but inside at the dining room table, it was all equations and factorials. Take it from a slacker: don’t let the last few months of school make your summer lame.
Do you really want to take a standardized test as a senior? This is a good question to ask oneself when doing late junior year test prep. Sure, you can take the ACT in June and kinda just see how it goes, knowing that there is another one given in September. But do you really want to have to take ANOTHER standardized test when you’re a senior, not to mention when you should be focusing on colleges? The thought of senior year ACTs and SATs is a great deterrent to slacking on your junior year test prep.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a scholarship. It happens. Students lose commitments from colleges and scholarship money when they suddenly stop performing because of senior-itis or summer-itis. I promise I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but it’s good to remember that things aren’t necessarily set in stone until you step on campus for your freshman year. Texas Christian University even sends out a “fear of God” letter to students whose academic performance slacks senior year:
We recently received your final high school transcript. While your overall academic background continues to demonstrate the potential for success, we are concerned with your performance during the senior year.”*
I’m done with college and that letter scares me. The moral of the story is STAY ON POINT despite the weather and the temptation to say “good enough.”
Summer + social media = caution. We live in a world where every moment has become acquisitive: we must document, we must memorialize, we must Snapchat. But beware the temptation to document yourself having too much fun. Facebook pics, Twitter posts and the like have been known to make their way into college admissions offices, leading to rescinded acceptances. So when you’re at that end-of-school barbeque, be careful what ends up on the internet. Or better yet, don’t put yourself in that position to begin with. There’s something to be said for being good. I just wish I could tell that to my seventeen year-old self.
The homestretch doesn’t mean you’re done; it means you’re ALMOST done. Don’t change the meaning—staying on track despite all of the seasonal temptations can lead to great things like college acceptances and a standardized test-free senior year.
Written by Phil Lane