Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Battling Senioritis

As finals week rapidly approaches here at UNH, seniors are facing one of the greatest challenges of our college careers: the dreaded senioritis. It is an infectious disease that spreads rapidly among roommates, friends, neighbors, and classmates, debilitating one's academic motivation and promoting one's ability to procrastinate or ultimately skip assignments. Bar hopping replaces studying as legitimate weeknight activities and our beds become more comfortable every morning.

I had a brief scare last week as some symptoms began to emerge. Luckily I was able to identify them and have made a quick recovery. I realized that skipping class to get caught up on Dexter and putting papers off until hours before their deadline is not sustainable or healthy.

I feel that senioritis hit me harder and much earlier than four years ago when I was finishing up high school. I began to wonder why, and soon the answer became very clear.

Four years ago the high school senioritis bug did not infect me at all, but here I am in November and it is already showing signs. When I was preparing to graduate high school things were looking up. There was a strong feeling that Obama would take the presidency later that year and it seemed to invigorate the young people of America.

Playing baseball in the spring forced me to keep my grades up, not that it was ever a concern of mine in high school, and I was also looking forward to the new personal freedoms of college. But here we are four years later and for the first time in my life I'm not exactly the happy-go-lucky optimistic character my peers know me to be.

Obama has not quite lived up to the expectations of my generation. At the same time the Republican candidates scare me more than when I stayed up to watch Stephen King's "IT" in elementary school. I couldn't sleep for a week. Let's face it whether you are a liberal or a conservative, the man who many consider the top GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, hasn't even been the true "favorite" yet, and one of his main competitors, Herman Cain, was the CEO a pizza company and has absolutely no idea how to handle foreign policy. Then there's Rick Perry. He is incompetent, can't finish a thought (let alone a sentence) and, well uh something else I can't think of right now. Oops.

The economy is not doing well, the biggest movement in years is taking place on Wall Street and across the country in response to economic inequality and here I am months away from entering the work force. Why would anyone want to graduate right now? It is like an unconscious subliminal message telling us to stay here as long as we can. This year's senioritis is not caused by carefree attitudes, but because there may very well be nothing out there for us once we receive our diplomas.

But attitudes like that are not healthy. The generation I grew up with has been through some good and hard times like any other American generation. We grew up with constant wars in the Middle East, the biggest attack on American soil in history and now the crisis in the jobs market. But we have also been privileged to live in a time and place where we have the ability to make things better. It can be hard and a long process, but it can be done. The future of our country relies on the new generations entering the work force. We are now about to become responsible for things like improving the American economy and promoting human rights around the world. Will it be easy? Not at all. Can it be done? Definitely yes.

Ask anyone from the generations before us if 50 years ago they thought there would be an African-American President. Do not forget that the Civil Rights movement was only 40 to 50 years ago, which is not a very long time. The people of that generation made sacrifices for our generation. Now it is up to us to do the same thing.

Let the prospect of creating a better country, a better world for that matter, be your motivation to finish out the year strong. But remember, we are still in college. We can't do or fix everything already. Our time will come and when we receive our diplomas we have a chance to do great things. Oh, wait, my diploma is going to say "History." Oh crap.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

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