Hitting the books should play role senior year

Alex Burnam

I launched my senior year fired up about succeeding in class and getting into a spectacular college. I worked at the same pace I had throughout my high school career and applied to many schools. However, right as I was hitting the peak of my academic stride, I started to receive acceptance letters to universities.
As I opened my first and read that simple word Congratulations, calm swept over me. Enthusiastic and relieved, I would return to school with good news of these acceptances, and my teachers and peers would congratulate me.
With each pat on the back my mentality changed. The promise of life after high school caused me to slack off in my studies and extracurriculars. Math problems and newspaper assignments became low priority to me; I would begin them and suddenly remember that I was going to college. What is the point in me writing an analysis of a novel or figuring out the probability of x?
I found my new condition surprisingly enjoyable. This was the first time I had shirked my academic duties, and I liked it. I had  more free time because I did less homework. Relaxation became my forte. I thrived in my spurious reality until it all imploded.
When finals week arrived, I had no idea what was going on. Frantically, I fought and scraped for each and every point available to me, coming in after class, studying late into the night and begging for extra credit opportunities. I couldn’t afford to lose my college admissions because of a terrible GPA.
As Christmas break began, and the delusional fog surrounding my chaotic last week cleared, my report card gleefully showed a host of As and Bs, and one big fat C sat next to Advanced Placement Statistics on my transcript, sticking out like a wart on a super model. I had failed the final.
More than 80 percent of Americans attend college of some kind according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 data. Senior year and high school as a whole are merely a launching pad for what is to come in the most important educational years of students’ lives. Students check out once they start receiving college acceptances. We’re told it’s OK to slip into a lie that accepts part-time students as the norm or taking easy classes during senior year as the status quo.
I am very far from making it in life, and I am wrong to expect to do well in college after slacking off for a whole year. I can only imagine what kind of success I could have had this year had I simply applied myself in class; I let thousands of scholarship dollars and countless opportunities slip through my hands.
As I continue to salvage my senior year, I will forever be forced to wonder what kinds of positive things could have happened to me and if I will be able to step up to my pre-senioritis academic performance as  I enter college.
It’s important for students to get their work done when assigned, not at a later date. Academics are similar to athletics — you won’t do well if you don’t practice. Putting in the extra hours may seem unappealing, but making an investment in your future always yields high returns. Colleges don’t have time for procrastination.
Looking forward, I’m not going to let my desires for relaxation trump my drive for success. I got into the colleges I applied to because of who I was before senioritis took hold of me. Because I was someone who cared and worked hard, I intend on beginning my freshman year of college as that same person.
By Alex Burnam