Senior’s scoop on seminar


Becca Kuhn

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and I am finally planning on using my seminar time wisely later on in the day. That is until I hear the morning announcements, and realize today is the most dreaded day for almost every SES student. It’s Xello day. A loud groan echoes in complete unison throughout school, and my seminar plans are foiled. On the brightside, tomorrow is a social emotional seminar, so at least that will be better…I think? As a senior, I’ve seen the various ways our seminar times are used, and throughout my past four year as a high school student, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are pros and cons to the various seminar activities we face. 


Social-Emotional Time- The social-emotional seminars are a good step in the right direction for SES. While the Harbor videos can be corny at times, they provide an amazing opportunity for students and teachers to discuss issues that are most of the time swept under the rug. Issues like depression, harassment, and insecurities have all been brought up because of these classes, and are met with thoughtful discussion about how these relate to our school. Social-emotional seminars also bring up conversation topics like “How can I be a better, more authentic, friend?” or “How can I help my friend who is struggling with a mental illness?” These questions also give students the chance to open up about how they feel about the current school setting. In my seminar, we have had countless meaningful discussions that would not have taken place without the social-emotional seminars. Social-emotional learning is something I’ve really enjoyed my last two years of high school, and I hope SES continues this valuable seminar activity. 

Study Help- An overlooked pro to seminar time is being able to study with teachers. Although COVID has nixed this benefit from students, in normal circumstances, this would be a phenomenal time to allow students to better themselves. Students are given the chance to have one on one time with teachers, and better understand a topic that might not have been clear during class time. Although this benefit is somewhat adjusted this year, I’m hoping it will continue in years to come. 

Early Release- I think every upperclassman would agree that the greatest pro to seminar is early release. With early release as a seminar option, upperclassmen are handed the opportunity to work on their own time management, all while receiving a taste of freedom. I personally enjoy early release because it gives me the chance to go home, and work without distractions. For example, I’m currently writing this article from the comfort of my bed, without the tapping of someone else’s pen, or the sound of someone jabbering in the room over. But if I was still in-school seminar, I would probably be restarting this paragraph over again, because I got distracted and lost my place. Another benefit from early release is it gives students who work a chance to go home before work. I appreciate this aspect because without early release, I’m stuck changing into my work uniform at school, and rushing to work right after school. But regardless of how students spend their early release time, I believe students benefit from this opportunity. 



Xello, for Seniors- As a senior, I see Xello as a somewhat tedious, unnecessary task. I, like many seniors, already know what I want to go to school for. Therefore, I believe that there are more productive ways I could utilize my seminar, rather than taking personality quizzes, or figuring out what kind of learning style I have. For example, I’d like to spend my seminar time preparing for college or applying for scholarships. Xello is a better fit for underclassmen because they might not have a great idea of what they want to do in the coming years. Xello provides them with great opportunities to discover career fields that interest them, along with discovering colleges that fit their lifestyles. But for seniors, I don’t see the benefit of this seminar activity. 

Last thought of the day- At the end of the school day, the last thing students want to do is continue to do work. Students have already endured almost seven hours of work, an additional 45 minutes is doing nothing but making students more eager to go home. 


Solutions to Cons

Xello- Xello is a great tool for underclassmen to discover future career paths, and I think we should keep Xello as is for them. For seniors who know what they want to do, Xello should be adjusted. SES should incorporate more college preparation for seniors. Things like finding the right college, understanding financial aid, and preparing for freshman year of college should be included in our Xello classes. With these changes, seniors could greatly benefit from Xello. 

Take seminar to the top- We shouldn’t take away seminar because there are so many positives. However, switching seminar to the beginning of the day could be beneficial for many students. According to the MIT Press Journals, “productivity is higher in the morning than the afternoon [and] allows for efficiency gains to be obtained.” With switching seminar to the beginning of the day, this could push students to use their time more efficiently, rather than waiting for seminar time to end, and for them to go home. 


From Xello to Social Emotional seminars, SES offers many opportunities for students to better themselves. Although some of these opportunities have room for improvement, students benefit greatly from the various seminar options SES provides.