PRO/CON: The cure to senior stress

Teachers should lighten the load on seniors

by McKenna Ross

Juniors are always under the impression that once they finish their last ACT in June, they will be done with the worst of high school. They’re advised to really focus on academics while maintaining leadership positions in extracurriculars. The assumption is, if they survived junior year, they are all set to sail through senior year.

They’re wrong.

First trimester of senior year can be, by far, the most stressful period of a student’s high school career.  School work, college applications and extracurricular activities don’t leave much time to breathe.

The solution is simple. Teachers and the administration should consider lessening the burden by assigning less homework to seniors during first trimester, the one most dominated by college applications.

It may seem ridiculous, but no one seems to realize how stressful senior year is until it’s actually happening. Less homework gives seniors a chance to focus on those early deadlines for college applications. Working on each application could take up to two weeks or longer depending on the student, and it’s difficult for students applying to multiple colleges to find time to perfect each application. There are also students who spend their fall doing test prep, trying to score a few points higher on the ACT, and less homework could give them a chance to really focus on studying.

Seniors are also still encouraged to participate in sports, clubs, activities, and Field Day. All that extra time spent involved in other activities can add up. After a full day at school and an afternoon full of extracurriculars, homework can feel like a senior’s very last priority.

And, even if there was enough time in the day to go to school, participate in sports and clubs, and do homework, there still wouldn’t be enough time to socialize. Seniors are encouraged to make this year count. Friends, family, and teachers constantly say we should go to Field Day, every football game, homecoming, and every other school event. But we’re often forced to prioritize what is most important for our future and we end up sacrificing late nights surrounded by friends for late nights surrounded by books.

High school isn’t a circus. Less homework would give seniors a chance to make space for all the pressures they have to juggle this year.

Seniors can deal with the stress

by Tessa Banks

There is a myth that senior year should be a blow-off year. Juniors fantasize about their senior year being a fun, easy period of time that they can just relax and enjoy their last year of high school with their friends.

Junior year is all about ACTs, getting good grades in all of your difficult classes, drowning in homework, and jamming as many after-school activities in as you can to make yourself look the best for colleges. So it’s no wonder that students want to just chill out their senior year. Colleges want to make sure that students don’t drop the ball for their last year, so admissions decisions are often coming down to a senior’s first trimester grades.

While the first trimester of senior year can be extremely stressful, seniors’ workload should not be lessened just because of college applications. There are four years in high school, not three, for a reason. Students are still supposed to learn despite the fact that they are almost done at Seaholm. If there is less work senior year, it’s a waste of time for both students and teachers alike. Sorry seniors, but high school isn’t over just yet. The load will lessen as the year goes by, and it’s the last year that students have to endure taking classes they don’t want to take. Seniors are almost free,  they just can’t check out before their time is up.

College is going to be a lot of work, and students need to learn how to balance it. The work after you graduate high school will only increase, and if you can’t handle college applications and homework at the same time, you’re going to have issues down the road that stretch far beyond the AP Government quiz next week. This trimester is good practice for college and a future career, so students should take advantage of the little bit of time that they have to screw up a bit before it really matters.

In addition, very few classes are solely for seniors. Juniors and seniors share much of their curriculum, so it would be difficult to eliminate or greatly lessen the homework load for seniors only while keeping classes fair. Not only is is actually more difficult when the class is only test grades with no homework to cushion your grade, but it’s not fair to the juniors and/or sophomores that could be in classes with seniors. Teachers would have to make two separate lesson plans for one class, giving them double the work for very little good reason. In addition to all of this, it would change the value of a grade in any given class. Getting an A in AP Biology is a great accomplishment because it is a hard class with lots of work so that students are prepared for the AP exam. However, if it took a junior twice as much effort to get an A in the class because they have homework and their senior counterparts do not, that cheats out not only the juniors of a fair shot, but the seniors of a well-earned A. Seniors getting less or no homework isn’t fair to anybody, and it just downright does not make sense.

Senior year is difficult because it’s supposed to be. High school does not get easier as you progress through, it gets harder. This is no accident, it is by design. As students get closer and closer to adulthood, they are expected to be able to take on more. It doesn’t make sense to lighten the load on kids who will be held to a much higher standard in the years following. Why would anyone quit training when the race is the closest it’s ever been? Senior year is hard, especially when trying to juggle school, college apps, activities and a social life.  But life is hard. Senior homework is not one’s biggest issue, nor will it ever be.

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