[Archives] Fact or Fiction: Senior Slump Affects Classes
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 21st, 2014
From February 10th, 1986
Rumors occasionally circulate concerning a mysterious beast, dwelling only in the presence of certain Milton Academy students. It has never been positively identified, yet few will deny that it does not exist. This creature, in whatever form, dwells only in the hearts and minds of Milton Academy seniors, but it may be possible, now that the first semester is over, to uncover details concerning the existence of “Senior Slump.”
No matter how many dire warnings one receives from parents and college counselors, it is hard to avoid thinking at some point that there is no longer any need to worry about schoolwork. After being accepted early, or after the first term ends, or at least by April 15, it seems that things have been decided one way or another, no matter what the student does. At this point, it is sometimes easy to conclude that the goal of high school has been accomplished and stop putting effort into schoolwork; this is “senior slump” in its most common form.
The obvious place to look for signs of people taking early vacations is among those accepted to college early. The school as a whole seems to perceive these people as ending the year in December. When Chris Dearborn, Class I, was asked about “senior slump,” he said to “talk to Greg Allen; he hasn’t done five minutes of homework since he got into Middlebury.” Allen responded that this might be true “most of the days of the week, but sometimes I work hard.” Ricko Prud’homme, Class I, was admitted early to college, and though he claimed that he would “hopefully not” stop working as hard, he did admit that “it’s getting hard to avoid. Every now and then, there is a depressing void of motivation” and an urge “to totally give up to sloth.” He also said that although being admitted early “makes it a lot more tempting,” it “would be inevitable” that one would eventually begin to loosen up academically. One early-admittee said that it would be “best if I stay as organized as possible” so as to avoid so great a “shock” when first entering college. John Warren, of the History department, explained that although “one can sometimes notice a temporary dip after early admission, often a student who gets in early is a strongly self-motivated individual” who will continue to work despite being admitted.
Seniors outside of the early admittance group seemed reluctant to comment on “senior slump.” Scott English, Class I, merely smiled and said, “I refuse to comment on the grounds it might incriminate me.” A senior girl claimed at first that she would not slack off at all, but when pressed admitted anonymously that she might “a little bit.” Another senior asked for anonymity and then claimed that “slump” for them “started about three months ago.” One student felt that “this is my time” to enjoy, and that a break was well deserved after studying hard for so many years. Govind Menon, Class I, was the most honest. He admitted he would work less at the close of the year, claiming, “I’m going to find Animal House!” When asked if she would work less hard, Angela Dirks, Class I, said, “I guess so, but I don’t consider it a slump; I considerate a void of pressure.” A final senior said that he would relax “somewhat,” but that he was “not the type to do it; if I blow off things, then I get burned in class.”
James Hejduk of the Music Department and director of the Glee Club implied in a recent announcement that seniors will also begin to drop extracurricular activities when they have sent their applications away, but most students claim that this is not true. Anyone would have to admit that there are some extracurricular activities which serve merely to look good on an application, yet no one claimed that they actually planned to terminate any extracurriculars in the near future. One person even said that they would place these before homework if necessary. Alexander Bingham, Class I, decided that “I’ll start blowing off my extracurriculars, like classes.”
The students are united in their feeling that Spring Exams do no help to prevent “Senior Slump.” Most simply said “no” when asked if they served this purpose and several claimed that “nobody cares” anymore what happens by this point. Many realized the impact exams would have on projects, but most felt that this would affect most students in only a cursory way. Prud’homme didn’t “think the purpose of an exam should be to shock someone back into academic awareness,” but he felt “that’s all the [senior spring] exams do,” despite the best intentions of the school administration.
Outside of the senior class, the school seems to have misted reactions to “senior slump.” Warren felt the problem was exaggerated, but could think of examples of students who had “let up substantially” after the end of the first semester, which he called “the break point.” Although “people around here in the main have a lot of pride in their performance,” there can occasionally be a problem when the “dominant individual [in a class] slacks off and affects the atmosphere of the class” negatively. The underclassmen in the school seem to be basically split in their thinking on “senior slump.” In an informal poll, about half of them claimed that they will not try to work as little as possible when they become seniors, while the other half seems to look forward to this with glee.
By Tom Anthony
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