(This was written on a 30 minute timer, so please excuse errors)
As a high school student, I’ve been looking at a lot of colleges and trying to figure out what the next steps are. I started reading Grant Lichtman’s #EdJourney the other day and one of the ideas that kept coming back to me was, “I wish he had done this for colleges.” And it’s not so much about, “All the matters is getting to college and what you can do there,” as much as it was about, “I want to go some place that makes me excited and has cool and innovative ideas that can direct me on the path to what I might want to do later given the paths I’ve taken and learned on in high school.
Most colleges that I’ve visited have study abroad, senior projects, research opportunities, and other things that students don’t get to do in high school. Since I have many senior friends, I’m watching them struggle through college applications, APs, leadership roles, and other responsibilities. It’s pretty commonly known at my school that come second semester of senior year, many of the students get “senioritis” and just don’t want to do work any more. They’ve either gotten college acceptance letters or are waiting on them, and it just don’t seem worth the effort to keep getting those perfect grades. I think some it comes down to not feeling like they have anything else to get out of high school, other than to physically get out.
Today, Anya and I had a discussion on part one of #EdJourney and we talked about this and our similar feelings on wish there was a book like this for the colleges out there so that students who are at innovative schools can know what colleges will help them continue that work. We landed on the topic of study abroad and students getting to spend some time away from the school campus for a while and we decided it would be really cool if second semester of senior year was just one big last “Hurrah!” A project or topic you want to dive deeply into so you can feel like putting in work is worth the time. No classes, no grades, just joy.
Someone could do that tour of innovative colleges we talked about: maybe not for themselves, but maybe for future students. Someone could write and produce their own album. Someone could write a book. Someone could design a new building. It’s about what the students are passionate about and what they might want to work on in college and beyond: a bit of self-discovery before a lot of self-discovery.
The next problem, of course, is how do we tackle how you share it, and I think that needs to be left up to the students. Students should be proud of their work and want to share it with their peers and the rest of the world. It should be something they can point back to later in their life and safely claim that they are someone different because of it.
I don’t want to feel tired and run-down in the second semester of my last year of high school. I want to feel excited about the possibilities of what’s next. I don’t want to feel like I have to have it all figured out. I want to feel like I can start that process and learn and grow. I don’t want to have Senioritis. I want to have Senior Study.