‘Senioritis’ and the Long Road to Graduation

Commentary, Ronvel Sharper

High school graduation. The goal all our parents hope we achieve, along with college. Or at least that’s what my parents told me. As students we’re taught to see graduation as an end to a challenging journey, a way to determine whether we’re bound for success or destined for failure.

As I grew from a naive freshman to a level-headed senior, I realized that my only motivation for being in school was my parents. I just wanted to see them smile. All four years, I kept them in my mind, telling myself, “You’re going to make your parents so proud.”

Occasionally, I told myself that I also did it for my own dreams and my aspiration to one day become a dermatologist. But looking back, I only told that to myself when my motivation was low and I didn’t want to go to school at all.

Like other graduating seniors, I was afflicted by “senioritis,” which basically makes students feel lethargic about school and not want to go. Combined with stress from college application deadlines, I was a senior experiencing a crisis.

Eventually, I lost motivation for school altogether and went on a kind of a “hiatus” from all things school-related. This led to my college acceptances getting withheld because I couldn’t pay my fees in time. That was a wakeup call. At that point, I started to take school more seriously again and convinced myself to keep going, although in the back of my head, I continued to question why I was even doing it.

Throughout my four years at Richmond High, all of my teachers were great. They were all passionate about their students and gave us good advice to help us with college in the future.

But during senior year, I had a hard time with one teacher, mostly because I couldn’t understand what she wanted half the time, and she gave homework every day. I was pretty certain I was going to fail that class, and frankly, I didn’t really care. I just wanted graduation to hurry up and come.

But once my college counselor, guidance counselor and my parents found out, they told me that my dream college could actually revoke my application. That sparked my desire to pass the class, so I started to work my butt off. In the end I passed the class.

Unfortunately, I was met with disappointment when my college of choice told me that I hadn’t paid a fee in time, and as a result, they withheld my application.

So now, even though I graduated, I feel a bit disappointed. But I’ve decided that I’m just going to use this to fuel my desire to go that college. All of my teachers have told me that college was the best experience of their lives and was much better than high school.

For now, I’m planning on studying at Contra Costa College in the fall, and transferring when I get the chance. I realize that at times like these, when I’m disappointed and just want to quit, I have to be my own inspiration to succeed.

My parents are no longer my source of motivation. Instead, I’m inspired by the fun of being able to go to faraway places and experience new things in my life. My success may still make my parents smile. But that’s not why I’m doing it anymore.

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