My son is a senior in high school and he has really taken the term “senior slump” to heart. At first I was just incredibly pleased that he had been accepted to his first-choice college after having been deferred when he applied Early Decision. And I rationalized the fact that he was sleeping later and going out on school nights because many of his friends had been doing that since December, when they were accepted Early Decision.
But now I’ve been observing this slump for a few weeks, and I can’t say it makes me happy. It seems lazy and indulgent, not to mention that it fails to take advantage of the incredible resources his school continues to offer. I’ve discussed my frustration with other senior parents, who are also perplexed that their kids seem to have so little work and are so idle.
My son does have a paying job this summer, at the same facility where he interned last year, helping to repopulate the oyster beds of the Long Island Sound. But his job seems a long way off right now, and I hate to see him waste a lot of his time, even after applying himself steadily for so many years. Of course I can tell him he can’t go out on school nights and put a big noose around his neck, but it does seem an odd time to do that.
I’d be interested in opening up a dialogue with other parents on this issue. For example, are there other schools that are doing a better job of keeping their seniors engaged? My son’s school has created something called “The Senior Initiative”, which sounds great on paper but doesn’t appear to force a lot of intellectual rigor. Have schools just given up on this phase of student’s lives?
Please let this post be an invitation to get in touch with me on the subject (or others!) I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Allison Cheston is a New York City-based career advisor who works with young adults who are in high school, college or are recent graduates. Her upcoming book will help young adults from late high school through college identify strengths and interests and match them to internships, coursework and, ultimately, the right job. Visit her website http://www.allisoncheston.com/
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