Remember when you were in high school and every year the soon-to-be graduating classes of students older than you seemed to check out a few weeks before the end of the year? And how after three years of witnessing the same pattern of apathy among those students to whom you had always looked up, it was only inevitable that you, too, came down with a major case of senioritis, counting the days until graduation? In all of that time, it never occurred to me that teachers might share in that feeling, anxiously awaiting the end of the school year and silently (or not) willing it to come faster. After all, teachers lived in the supply closet in the classroom, right? And if you ever did see them outside of school, it was a freakish collision of two worlds that should never, ever come together. I say this in jest, of course, because I generally really enjoyed school as a kid and I loved most of my teachers, both of which were probably factors in the career path I have chosen. But I digress….
As I approach the end of the school year with my sweet group of seventh graders, I’m feeling more and more like that antsy high school senior I was seventeen years ago (has it really been that long?). The senioritis has got me in a bad way. Its reaches extend beyond anticipating the end of the academic year, because in this case, the end of the school year coincides with wrapping up our tour in Matamoros. This town has grown on us in some ways, mostly with regards to the people we’ve met and the friends we’ve made. At the same time, it’s hard not to look ahead, first towards our temporary assignment in Washington for M.’s Russian language training course, and then towards our onward assignment in Riga, Latvia. We’ve already begun to think about winter clothes, winter running, the Riga Marathon, traveling throughout eastern Europe….
What I do remember about that senioritis seventeen years ago is that I was so ready to be done with my senior year of high school that I didn’t take the time to slow down and enjoy those last couple of months. It’s all a blur to me now (of course, that could also be due in large part to the seventeen years that have passed): end of spring track season, final exams, graduation… and I think I went to prom in there somewhere. While I remember bits and pieces of the good stuff, what I remember most is having the overwhelming desire to be out of high school and move on to better things.
I don’t want the same thing to happen here, now. Living in Matamoros has had its challenges, to be sure, and I won’t say there isn’t a list of things that I won’t miss about this place, but the list of things I will miss is much longer, the items on it holding more weight. I want to savor those things in these last couple of months and take time to enjoy them as we begin the process of organizing for our pack out and planning our next steps. I don’t want to reflect on my last few weeks here, seventeen years from now, thinking how ready I was to move on.
I’m not sure if there’s a cure for senioritis, unless perhaps you’re one of those “live in the moment” kind of people, and I am definitely not. But my hope is that if I take some time each day to enjoy the little things that have made Matamoros an enjoyable place to be, I won’t let myself wish the time away, to move faster, because as my mom always reminds me, what I’d really be doing is wishing my life away.
With only nine weeks remaining, there is still plenty of time to enjoy being with my students, log a couple hundred miles on my newest pair of running shoes, and eat tacos at our favorite restaurant. Perhaps that’s just the prescription I need.
Thank you for reading!