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College column III: How low can you go?

From a second semester senior stuck in limbo


I have no college applications left. The swim season, Amy Chenunfortunately, is over (Shoutout to the best coach ever, Mr. Branam — aka 25 percent of my readership. You’re the best!). And, most of my other commitments don’t need to be done until the end of the year. In other words, most of my work is homework.

Then, yesterday, I came across a rarity: I wasn’t assigned any homework.

This came as both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because my usual schedule involves wanting to go to bed but staying up to get my work done; a curse because I went to bed wanting to fall asleep but stayed up late worrying about work I had already done.

No longer distracted by immediate commitments, I became acutely aware of college limbo. A brief timeline: During March and the beginning of April, seniors begin to hear back from colleges. Most colleges — or at least the ones I’m applying to — are announcing their decisions March 27 and April 1. Before then, our spring break starts on March 21. In other words, for the six days before the first major decision date, students like me will be anxiously checking their phones, trying to socialize but eventually just ranting about how much we want to hear back from colleges and screaming internally.

The funny thing is that, while thinking about the possibility of getting rejected gives me anxiety attacks, I’m not trying to compensate for this fear by accomplishing ridiculous amounts of work and sending updates about this work to colleges. I am instead doing what second semester seniors do: nothing. Or, rather, I would do nothing, if I wasn’t so afraid of getting in trouble for it.

The premise behind second-semester laziness is that we don’t have to try to do well in class because seniors will already have been accepted to college by the time second-semester grades are determined. And although colleges do get these grades, they won’t take back acceptances just because of a few less-than-ideal grades. In other words, for the most part, second-semester grades don’t matter. Of course, this puts into question students’ reasons for attending college, considering that they don’t seem all that interested in learning.

While I can’t speak for all seniors, however, I can truthfully say that I want to learn. Just not right now. Right now, I’m interested in moving forward and spending time with those I won’t see as much after this June. And while second semester seniors have a tendency to say, “I’m so done.” As in, “I’m so done with homework” or “I’m so done with school,” I know that I’ll have a gaping hole in my heart where school once was. After all, I’ve already lost sleep over homework. But I digress.

The fact of the matter is that we’re staring at the horizon, waiting for the sun come up. We’re looking to the future and we want to get to the milestones we have coming up: college letters, graduation and freshman orientation. We’re not so much sloths as we are human beings, trying to make the best of being home before we leave while concurrently desperately looking forward to college. In other words, we’re enjoying the time we have left.

So cut us some slack. We might not have perfect grades, but we’ve got grade A friendships.

Amy Chen is a senior at Lake Oswego High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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