In College Comp 2 I assign a 4-6 page essay that is due on the first day of class.
The topic for the past couple years has been - why don't you, as a senior, work harder? You know college is right around the corner. In fact, when I survey my students who have gone on to college, they all tell me "I wish I would have studied harder, read more, and generally been a better student." Yet, I told them the very same thing when they were seniors in high school. You know you should be studying harder, reading more, and being the best student you can possibly be in order to prepare for the rigors of college. Yet, you most likely won't. Why not?
Here is a great response --
Yes, the ultimate reason why students in high school don't strive to their utmost potential, as I've been building up to for several pages: The Glory Years. I know far too many people who are in their mid thirties and still fantasize about their high school baseball team that was almost good, or they are still acting like an immature little brat who pulls pranks on little kids and is able to get enjoyment out of it. this is supposedly our time to have fun, to not worry, to lay back and just enjoy life without a care in the world. When in reality, this is one of the most important times in our lives. This is what's supposed to prepare us for our next step in life, but we don't want to waste our glory years on anything that isn't enjoyable, let alone doing work. This, my friends, is serious bullshit.
This kid gets it. That's one of the most honest and spot on responses I've read in quite a few years.
Later he hits the nail square on the head: "What glory years truly are, are the years of your life when you are living in your element."
That is what students should be focused on. But ultimately too many adults want to relive their 'glory years' and give our teens the false idea that high school is the best time of their lives. In fact, it is just a stepping stone to far greater things.