Head-To-Head: Should We Implement Senior Month?

“Senior Month” Enhances Seniors’ Education

Parker’s mission states that the school educates students to be “responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.” Senior Month, an opportunity for students to spend the last three weeks of high school working on personal projects or internships, offers students this chance to be part of the “global community.” Aside from Parker Partners and Civic Lab, Parker hasn’t really pushed students to immerse themselves in the broader community. That is, until Senior Month was proposed. 

Senior Month offers students a unique opportunity to indulge themselves in a topic which they would be unable to engage in, given the restraints of the traditional semester curriculum. In order to truly be part of the “global community,” as the school’s mission statement claims students are educated to do, students need educational experiences outside the classroom. Even if students opt out of pursuing an internship, constructing a self-guided project pushes students to be more independent and therefore teaches them to be more global thinkers. 

Escaping from the traditional classroom setting and nightly homework routine allows students to learn something about a topic they are actually interested in. I often hear students talking about how they wish they had more time to pursue certain hobbies but unfortunately don’t have that time due to overwhelming schoolwork. Senior Month allows students to finally regain the tireless hours spent studying by pushing them to divert their attention to something that is more self-fulfilling. 

Senior year is a time for students to finally have control of their classes as they have priority in class registration and only have one requirement (two semesters of English). My advisor told me that my senior year is the time for me to choose classes that I am genuinely passionate about. However, I am unable to truly do so. 

After speaking with college counseling and reviewing what classes colleges recommend their applicants take, I’ve been pressured into signing up for all five core subjects: history, math, science, language, and, as required, English. Science is not something that sincerely interests me but is rather something that I want on my transcript. These self-imposed requirements are extremely restrictive and somewhat unavoidable if I want to apply to certain schools. Although I have choices over what classes to take for each subject, I still feel like I do not have a comprehensive opportunity to pursue my interests. 

I can safely say that I am not the only person at Parker who takes classes less for enjoyment and more for the credit. Senior Month is a way to alleviate this pressure and actually support students in pursuing something that they are passionate about. Furthermore, it’s a time for students to fulfill their own desires, not those of their parents or what they think looks good on paper. 

The term “Senior Month” may be frightening to some considering they don’t want to miss their last month at Parker. However, it’s not actually a month. Senior Month is only three weeks. 

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think that Senior Month would prohibit students from learning essential material. The last three weeks of school are mostly devoted to finals preparation. Teachers rarely, if ever, present new, significant information to the class two weeks before a final. Senior Month would span over a week of normal classes (in which I don’t think the class learns immense amounts of new material), finals preparation week, and actual finals. 

Even though these three weeks may not be devoted to much learning, I understand that, for seniors, they are significant for traditions. College T-Shirt Day, Ditch Day, and the Senior Prank are all memorable moments seniors are supposed to share during May. Senior Month does not have to change that. Students can still do these traditions, just at an earlier time. Seniors don’t need to miss out on special traditions, but they may have to adapt. 

Those against Senior Month fear they will miss out on important class curricula, traditions, and time with friends, but this does not have to be the case. If people embrace the opportunity to pursue something they are truly passionate about through Senior Month, they should be okay with moving traditions a little closer to the beginning, rather than the end, of May. In addition, they shouldn’t worry about missing time in the classroom and should, instead, be excited to work on something important which will help them become part of the “global community.” Lastly, students can still see their friends at the end of their workday and on the weekends. Students may actually have more time to be with their friends during Senior Month because they won’t spend time doing homework and other time-consuming class-related activities.