Senior Spring Project (SSP) sounds like a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the final few months of high school. The promise of sunshine beckons, along with stimulating activities that keep you engaged with the world and make sure your brain doesn’t shrivel up from underuse. However, SSP is somewhat ruined by the fact that the serious disease of senioritis, previously kept at bay by the weight of college applications, grows and spreads to an unfathomable monstrosity during this time. Seniors continuously distract students in other grades, making any sort of productive behavior nearly impossible.
My attempts to concentrate on writing the Junior Profile when there’s a group of seniors playing spikeball loudly and aggressively right outside are futile. Additionally, as I’m trying to do my homework, I’m constantly bombarded by Snapchat stories of seniors having fun on weeknights. Merely the thought of going out on a weeknight makes me green with envy, unable to concentrate on the many math problems ahead of me. The next day, they come into sports practice or some other activity completely disoriented, not knowing their Tuesdays from their Thursdays, or their F blocks from their D. After a long day of traipsing through the Commons and waiting in the obscenely long lines of underclassmen, just trying to get a few potatoes before rushing off to my A block English class, I find it quite a slap in the face to see seniors at pool parties. I’m dragging myself up the dreaded Fishbowl staircase the next morning, and the only thing keeping me from collapsing under the weight of my 20-pound backpack is the thought that there might be a donut waiting for me in advisory.
Attempting to combat the colossal problem of seniors slacking off during a time that is clearly meant for a “deeper appreciation of their own talents” and “an increased sense of the importance of working with and learning from others,” teachers have assigned a six-page essay asking them to reflect on the 40 hours a week of deeply mentally engaging hot yoga and cooking classes. This task, combined with the weekly meetings with a faculty mentor—frequently forgotten about by the mentee—hardly make a dent in the senioritis that is so grossly on display for all to see.
To alleviate this weighty predicament, I propose that after March break, a three-month trip up to Keene, New Hampshire, be required for all seniors. What better way to end their four years of high school than exactly how they began it: in the woods with their entire grade at Bivouac.
The long-stay is sure to teach seniors many valuable lessons, including but not limited to how to work as a team, endure hardship, and be in very close quarters with people they don’t necessarily like. The current SSP requirements make avoiding these valuable life skills far too easy. At Biv, with the help of a few volunteer faculty ready to spend a few months away from the confines of BB&N in beautiful New Hampshire woodland, students would build wooden cabins themselves (A-frames would not be enough for this length of time), do a half-hour period of calisthenics every morning before bathing, and hunt for their own food. There are plenty of deer, wild turkey, and the occasional stray chicken in the surrounding woods, and the seniors would be provided with bows and arrows and spears to get the job done.
Of course, it would require virtue and integrity from everyone involved for this not to turn into a Lord of the Flies situation. But if the seniors can restrain themselves from hunting each other to extinction, then they can certainly manage to cure themselves of senioritis and survive the first year of college.
This proposal provides numerous advantages not only for students but for teachers and parents as well. The seniors would be out of the faculty’s hair. No more waiting around for their mentees to show up and then having to send them disapproving emails. And parents, think about the sizable decrease in complaints you’d have to listen to over the summer! Your child would be ever so appreciative of your expert cooking and laundry skills.
To parents who don’t want their cherished son or daughter going away without means of communication for three months, I say this: your son or daughter is about to go away for four years, and if you think they’ll be calling you every day after dinner to say goodnight, you are tremendously mistaken, so you’d better get used to it now. To the select few seniors who may not want to spend three months in the woods without a phone, toilet, or shower, I say open your mind before you knock the idea. What better way to prepare yourself for the first semester of college than hopping from foot to foot in cold water trying to clean yourself, eating undercooked and slightly rubbery chicken for dinner, and wearing the same, only marginally sweaty clothes for months? If I didn’t know we were talking about seniors being cured of senioritis in the middle of the woods, I’d have thought we were talking about college freshmen living in dorms for the first time. Unless someone brings another viable solution to my attention, I and the rest of my grade will be packing our bags with wool socks, Dr. Bronner’s, and hunting knives come March.
—Giovanna Cima ’19