In Defense of Senioritis

February 04, 2008 1 min read

Conventional wisdom once held that the second semester of 12th grade was a period of care-free exuberance, punctuated by long lunch breaks and trips to the beach. Times change, however. According to Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews, the increasingly competitive college admissions process, abetted by a culture of academic “fear mongering,” has transformed such harmless frivolity into a diagnosable disorder—senioritis.

Mathews wants no part of that thinking. Suggesting that learning to mix work and play is as important as any AP test, he encourages educators to give their seniors a break, and tells seniors themselves to get a grip. Having a social life and getting a full night’s sleep are worth losing a few multiple-choice questions.

“Once you’re in the habit of treating every assignment as critical to your future, it’s hard to regain perspective,” Mathews warns. “Isn’t the second half of senior year, with college applications turned in—in some cases with an admission letter in your pocket—the perfect time to try out a balanced life?”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.