When it came to school, I was always a good student -- some might even say I was a full-fledged nerd about learning. But when the second semester of my senior year of high school rolled around and all of my college acceptances were in, I fell victim to one of the most talked about possibilities every senior faces: senioritis.
It all started one fateful morning when the bell rang for everyone to head to class and it was time for me to walk to gym. My best friend and I were standing around the student center, lacking motivation because we had just finished a week of midterms, and one of us proposed getting a cup of coffee instead.
That was the first class I ever skipped in my whole life, and it wouldn't be my last. My best friend ended up being my partner-in0crime as we continued to cut classes and disregard our school work. Like all good things, our rebellion came to an end -- actually, more like a screeching halt -- when we finally got caught and had to face the consequences of what once felt a surge of fun and excitement.
Years later, we can now look back on our last semester of high school and joke that senioritis was like a disease or addiction that we couldn't seem to escape. People make light of the dangers of senioritis and how students can easily fall into the trap of it all. But at the time that it's happening, there's nothing funny about it when it seriously hits you and you're left to pick up the pieces of your own mess.
The silver lining through experiencing senioritis was I was able to gain perspective and learn a number of important facts about life. Here's a list of seven valuable lessons I learned after having senioritis.
1. It's actually stressful! The whole point of skipping class and not finishing homework is because students don't want to participate in the intensity that is school. It's an easy habit to fall into once you've made up a series of excuses and fall so far behind on your work that you just keep digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole. That ends up being much more stressful than simply sitting through class and completing assignments on time.
2. It's a waste of time that could better spent... WAY better spent. When I say that having senioritis was a waste of time, I really mean an absolute waste. Instead of being productive with school or even pouring my energy into outside activities, I was completely immersed in silly distractions and doing a whole lot of nothings. Time is one of the most valuable tools we have, and it's important not to waste it when you have the opportunity to better use it.
3. Saturday detention is nothing like The Breakfast Club. I never thought I would have to show my face in detention, let alone for three hours on a Saturday morning. That's probably why I always imagined detention on the weekend would be like a scene out of the 1980s classic film, The Breakfast Club, where a group of students from different high school cliques all come together and create deep, important friendships. To my surprise, I showed up at my school without more than a glance from the other students around me and sat there in silence while I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for an English assignment.
4. Peer pressure is real. If there were days when my best friend or I thought about going back to our old ways and attending class, we could easily talk each other out of it. A simple head tilt or asking each other, "Wouldn't you rather go to Dunkin Donuts?" easily convinced us out of it. There's always power in numbers, and it's easier to get into a little mischief when you know that someone else wants to have an adventure with you.
5. Rory Gilmore's life is cool... but so is mine. Over the course of one month, my friend and I watched the entire series of Gilmore Girls -- yep, all seven seasons -- and reignited our love for the show and obsession with Rory Gilmore. While we were sitting on the couch and gushing over all of Rory's accomplishments in school, her professional success as a blogger for the Obama campaign and the fun adventures she had with friends, we could have been going out in the world and living our own lives.
6. Your guidance counselor is your best friend -- or at least, they should be. When I got in trouble for cutting too many classes and falling into a ridiculous problematic pattern, my guidance counselor was there for me and helped me get back on the right track. I was lucky that my counselor made the effort to work with me, and I was also fortunate that I created a relationship with her previous to my senioritis that allowed for her to care about me. Don't ever underestimate the power and importance of your school guidance counselor -- they're not just there to write your college recommendations.
7. Believe it or not, grades matter. Getting accepted into college is an amazing accomplishment and something worth celebrating, but the work isn't done after you receive your letter in the mail. Colleges and universities care about your second semester grades, and you should too. After working hard for four years of high school -- and all those other years of school before that -- it's not worth risking your collegiate status for a few fun memories.
Follow Krystie Yandoli on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KrystieLYandoli