Finding enthusiasm in learning: How being a second semester senior has made me a better student


Izzy Ullmann ’17

For three and a half years of high school I found myself refreshing the MyHAC app, anxiously calculating how many points I needed for an A and begging my teachers to round up my grades.

It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate learning. I was caught up in the typical college game: one where grades mattered more than learning. This game, that most Staples students have played, is one that bears stress, anxiety and uncertainty about the future.

Now, as a second semester senior who knows where I am going to college, I can appreciate what it means to learn without the pressure of grades.

When I walk into class, instead of worrying about how many points the next test is going to be, I can breathe.

As a second semester senior, I am able to learn for the sake of learning. There is no longer any pressure to achieve the highest grades possible, but instead I am able to absorb material without being stressed out.

Having this readiness to learn is not just a bonus of being a senior, it scientifically improves your learning. According to Neurologist Judy Williams, joy and enthusiasm are essential for learning. Scientifically speaking, when people are not under as much pressure they absorb material and engage in activities more successfully.

I never thought I would ever say this, but I am actually more excited to learn as a second semester senior. With that in mind, I wish I could go back and tell my freshman self to simply relax. To learn without thinking about the grade, to not listen to other people talking about their GPAs, to simply walk into class with a willingness to learn.

The purpose of education is not structured to have an end goal. The purpose is simple: to become a better thinker.