HIP is not worth the fame

The Highlander Internship program is not as beneficial for McLean seniors as it appears


The Highlander Internship program is not as beneficial for McLean seniors as it appears | Cartoon by Liz Nedelescu

McLean students spend endless hours buffing their resumes: sports practices, community service hours and club meetings; which dictate their lives,  all in hopes to set themselves up for a promising future. 

By May of senior year, McLean students have been worn down to the bone. When faced with the relief of graduation and college decisions, the pressure resurfaces to keep building a resume through the Highlander Internship Program (HIP).

HIP is a long standing program at McLean that allows students to replace taking finals with an internship of their choice.

Though initially appealing, the lack of finals in senior year courses, the opportunity cost of spending the last weeks of senior year working in an internship rather than making the last memories with childhood friends and the importance of finals at the collegiate level has made the program much less inviting.

In the face of pressuring college applications, many seniors decide to take multiple AP courses. 

Because AP Exams take place in the beginning of May, the majority of AP teachers replace finals with a heavily weighted fourth quarter exam. By the time that finals week rolls around, students are left to do fun free choice projects and simpl,y enjoy their last few weeks at McLean.

Additionally, the teachers of honors and regular level courses recognize that seniors are worn out and have very little motivation by the last two weeks of their high school career. Because of this, they often follow in the footsteps of AP courses and fill finals week with fun projects and activities.

With finals not taking over the last two weeks of school it those weeks become the last guaranteed moments seniors have to make memories with their childhood friends.

Graduation is less than a month away from when HIP begins; after graduation seniors move onto individual summer plans. It is important for seniors to take advantage of these last few moments so that they are provided with more closure leaving McLean High School and taking their next steps.

Lastly, even classes that do have finals are essential in preparing students for the courses that the majority of them will face in college.

In the majority of collegiate level courses the only grades are midterm and final exams. Putting pressure on a cumulative exam over a year-long course that can greatly alter the grade replicates the college environment and will ensure students are prepared when it comes to studying for and taking these exams in upcoming years.

Final exams allow students to test different methods for studying such wide varieties of information and learning good testing habits. 

Senior year is the perfect practice for this as students already have their future plans figured out so the final grade does not have as much pressure surrounding the exam, and allows for mistakes to be made.Once seniors get to college, the mistakes will have been weeded out and they will have a solid strategy in preparing for the exams. 

This knowledge of self curated testing strategies makes up for the lack of preparation professors provide during the abrupt switch from the structure of high school to college courses.

While the time spent on HIP could be well spent making memories with peers, a benefit that does come from the program is experience in a real life career environment. HIP provides a unique and individualized hands-on learning experience that can help students gauge what career path they choose to take in the future.

This experience is important, but seniors have all of their life after high school to get involved in internships. The real world career experience is not worth the last moments lost with childhood friends and missing out on more the prevalent experience of building cumulative test taking strategies.

The experience HIP provides is premature. Students have their entire lives to gain real world experience, but they will never be able to experience the carefree last two weeks of high school. 

They only have two more months to make memories with the friends that have gotten them through the past 18 years. They only have two more months without the responsibilities that come with taking on the real world. Overall, HIP fails to provide the experiences for students’ futures while taking away some of the valuable final moments of students’ high school career.