So things got real, fast.

“What can I do?” I asked her, my voice probably cracking.

“Nothing. It’s too late.”


“Sorry. You haven’t been here.”

I left class that day a little broken. And then I got to work.

First, I begged Ms. Turino to let me make up my assignments, to let me prove to her I wasn’t a slacker. Eventually, she agreed to let me make up some of the work. [In retrospect, this was incredibly kind of her and though I thanked her then, I’d like to thank her here, again.] I completed extra credit assignments, studied harder than ever before, and got A’s on the rest of my tests.

I escaped Pre-Cal my senior year with a C. I still feared, up until the last moment, that I’d get the “fear of God” letter for Northwestern. Fortunately, I didn’t. But looking back at how much I gained there, it would have been an absolutely devastating letter.

What am I saying to you? Avoid the devastating letter.

If you’re reading this in the spring of your senior year and you’re in danger of failing (or getting anything other than As and Bs), here are a few tips:

How to Avoid Getting the “Fear of God” Letter Your Senior Year

  1. Check-in with your teachers or guidance counselor ASAP to find out what your current grades are.

  2. If you don’t like what you hear, ask your teacher(s) what you can do to bring your grade(s) up.

  3. Create a to-do list that actually works.

  4. Try a one-week social media fast.

  5. Close this webpage and get to work.

How Parents and Teachers Can Help Motivate a Student with Senioritis

  1. Copy and paste the “fear of God” letter above into a blank MSWord doc.

  2. Google image search the college where your student has been accepted and put a logo from the college into the header of the doc.

  3. Change the name “Joe” to your son/daughter/student’s name.

  4. Print it out and tape it on a door, laptop, or somewhere they’re bound to see it.

  5. Hide and wait.

Need a little extra help? Here’s a handy guide to overcoming procrastination.

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