Opinion: Class of 2026, there’s nothing wrong with slacking off

With midterm season in full force, a lot of first-years are feeling the same pressure to constantly work like in high school. I’m here to tell you it’s OK to slack off.

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Multimedia Editors

You studied your way to be here. It’s okay to slack off a bit during the midterm season. (Multimedia Editors for WSN)

Naisha Roy, Staff Writer

Dear fellow first-years, let’s be honest. If you’re a student here, it’s because you didn’t slack off in high school — you were one of those child prodigies who cured cancer on a Saturday or wrote a Pulitzer-winning personal essay or took a ton of Advanced Placement courses and led all 50 of your school clubs. Or maybe you did slack off. Either way, we all had to fill out an application to get here, which meant breaking down those four years of our lives into a document that didn’t even get four minutes of attention. 

NYU’s Class of 2026 had an average unweighted GPA of 3.7 and a middle 50% SAT range of 1350-1530. If grades are any indicator, we are some of the most hard-working and brilliant students in the nation.

We’ve spent the last four years of our lives brainwashing ourselves into thinking that every test was a vital step to the eventual goal of college. Now that we’ve reached that goal, it’s okay to live in the moment a little. This is something we need to keep in mind as midterms come around. Yes, studying is important, but so are taking breaks and letting yourself recognize the insignificance of this one test in the greater scheme of your educational career — I like to think of it as a little healthy hedonism.

In high school, many of our activities were defined by a future goal. For a lot of people, that was getting into a good college. In junior year, the phrase “It’ll look good on college apps!” pushed us through so many club meetings, desperate extra-credit emails and pulling all-nighters to study. Once we got into college a year later, senioritis seemed to continue because that motivation was still gone. Now, as we complete this slightly cursed cycle back to our first years and exam season looms over us, I’m asking all of us, please don’t return to that old high school mindset.

For those of us who dealt with gifted kid burnout in high school, it’s scary to think about getting anything but straight A’s. It wasn’t uncommon for us or our classmates to have a 4.0 or higher GPA, with AP and International Baccalaureate courses, several tests and quizzes to cushion our grades, weighted GPAs, and constant access to our teachers. 

However, in college, getting an A isn’t necessarily expected of you. Most of my classes require students to go above and beyond to earn an A. Your GPA isn’t supposed to be perfect, because you’re no longer solely marketing yourself to an institution, but also showing what you know. 

In high school, participating in anything that you weren’t an expert on was scary. Clubs were a gateway to leadership positions which were a gateway to college. There was this unspoken pressure to be constantly working toward the goal of prestigious college admissions. That’s not to say we never did anything out of pure interest or curiosity, but between mandated volunteering and the nearly 18 hours of homework that we got every week, there wasn’t much time to explore.

Now, we have the time to try out activities we’ve never done before. You can go to that salsa dancing club or the cheese club or whatever makes you happy. If the stars do align, maybe you’ll become president or a leader. Or maybe you’ll still be tripping over your steps in the back of the gym. Either way, you’ll be having fun, and that’s okay. Not everything has to be about building a palatable resume that doesn’t reflect who you are.

As a first-year, now is the time to think beyond that Common Application. When senior year comes around, maybe we will be thinking about building up our resumes again. Even then, there are so many more opportunities at the end of college than there were at the end of high school. Join that silly club or ignore that midterm, even for just a little while — and most importantly, slack off a little.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Naisha Roy at [email protected]