Let Seniors Chill Out, Not Burn Out

By Mary Harrington (II), Contributing Writer

As seniors near the end of their Boston Latin School careers, the pressures for them are at an all-time high. While some seniors have already committed to colleges, others still are focused on making this life-altering decision. Without a doubt, this transition causes the motivation levels of seniors to drop significantly. By early May, they will have finished AP exams and other important milestones in their high school careers, so they will be looking to lay back a little. The school should ease the stress and pressure off of the seniors by decreasing the amount of homework, tests and projects at the end of the school year.

The process of applying to colleges, getting accepted and choosing a school to attend are some of the most stressful moments in a student’s high school career. Despite all the help that BLS provides with its exceptional guidance team and the Schawbel College Resource Center, the additional amount of work that the school piles onto seniors is excessive and should be decreased. Tamar Dorvelus (I) agrees, saying, “The assignments and projects that seniors are getting at this point in the year feels more like busy work than anything else.”

In order to decrease the amount of work, teachers could assign less as the school year progresses. By May, after AP tests are taken and most seniors are aware of where they are headed to after they graduate, the only homework that should be given is work that is necessary. How this would look would differ among classes. Sarah Connolly (I) suggests that “potentially giving seniors some free passes on assignments (not all, of course) could help with the overwhelming feelings a lot of us are experiencing.”

Many students and teachers joke about “senioritis,” an affliction describing the lack of motivation felt by seniors reaching the end of their high school years. This, however, is a real phenomenon that involves severe burnout and lower motivation levels. At a high school as rigorous as BLS, seniors have been feeling burned out for a long time already and are at their peak performance levels. “[I have] gotten myself into a bit of a vicious cycle of not feeling motivated to get my work done, yet still really stressing out about it and the grades I receive in my classes,” says Connolly

Whether or not seniors should have finals in their classes has been heavily debated here at BLS. By the time they take them, most seniors will be looking toward the next stage of their life; thus, finals are not their top priority. The stress of preparing for their finals is more than they have to deal with at that moment and is unnecessary for seniors.

BLS believes that giving seniors many projects, assignments and tests will better prepare them for their coming college years. While bad habits can form in the last few months of high school, college is an entirely different experience. Relaxing a little in May and June will not hurt seniors’ start to college, as many of them will only have a few classes a day in college.

BLS Environmental Science teacher Mr. Timothy Gay remarks, “The end of senior year is a time for students to reflect and celebrate on the time they have put into BLS, all of the great things you have all accomplished and look forward to the next chapter and challenges you have in life.”

Only when BLS acknowledges the pressure placed on the seniors can steps be taken to help students alleviate this stress. While some teachers are working to assist seniors with this, many students have admitted that it is not enough. The last few months of their high school career should be spent taking the time to relax and cherish accomplishments, rather than dealing with work that prolongs burnout.