“What’s the point?” “I’m a second semester senior, give me a break.” “This isn’t even on the test. Why should I study it?” “She’s only checking it for completion, so I’m not going to try.” Chances are that you’ve heard some, or maybe even all, of the above phrases in high school thus far. Especially as we head into fourth quarter and seniors know all their admissions results, it’s the time of year when many students wonder: is it even worth trying anymore?
A bit of “senioritis” tends to affect students of all grade levels, especially when fourth quarter is here. However, students often forget that great grades aren’t magically bestowed upon all, and that in order to end the year on a good note, you still have to put in the effort.
I’ll admit that learning and staying on your A-game in school is extremely tiring and that sometimes you really don’t feel like completing a 15-minute statistics hypothesis test, or have the energy to rifle through a book looking for quotes to use in your out-of-class essay. I think an appropriate break from school is a healthy and needed, but getting too caught up in putting off schoolwork is a big mistake.
Learning is not just about getting the grades you need, or securing that A for the semester – at least it shouldn’t be. Spending the time to really study material and understand it is incredibly valuable. By putting in your full effort into a class, you will retain the material for a lot longer. You never know when knowledge of The Scarlet Letter will be a way you can bond with an interviewer or college admissions officer.
However, trying your best in school doesn’t only allow you to excel in job or college related events; always putting in your all benefits yourself. Many people talk about “loving yourself,” perhaps by treating yourself to dinner and a show, or going to see your favorite sports team. In my opinion, the best way you can love yourself is to build your arsenal of knowledge.
By having an in-depth (or at least semi-in-depth) understanding of a wide variety of subjects, which is what we are encouraged and mandated in part by graduation requirements to do in high school, you are setting yourself up for lifelong success.
Throughout your life, you will encounter dizzying amounts of information, claims and tasks you have to do. Having a breadth and depth of knowledge acquired from diligent study throughout your entire high school experience will help you in ways you never expected, large or small.
Personally, I’ve found myself having to not only recall, but apply things I learned in various classes, including everything from AP Statistics to AP Biology to AP NSL in order to understand an article I was reading or evaluate a politician’s claim. Although students typically have the chance to explore a variety of subjects in college, sometimes classes for your major may crowd out the number of electives you can take, especially if it is especially demanding.
That’s why making every single class you take in high school count in the long term, whether it be nutrition or Calculus, is important. You may never have the opportunity to delve into these subjects in the future with great teachers to guide you and bright peers to learn with.
The next time you’re tempted to cut corners or take the easy way out, resist it. As with most things, it comes easier with practice. Think of every class (even your least favorite) as an opportunity to grow intellectually in an impactful way. Give trying your best a chance-you might find you enjoy it.