By Chaya Nessa Krycer
When it comes to certain aspects of my personality and viewpoints, I am in a class of my own. Literally. For exactly two days I experienced something that very few people outside of Iceland or the Kerguelen Islands (aptly nicknamed the Desolation Islands) have yet to encounter. I was the only twelfth grader to show up to school.
Now many of you are probably tsk-tsking sympathetically. How could I have possibly missed the memo about the two-day senior ditch day? (For all of you who have never encountered this enthralling phenomenon, a senor ditch day is a day chosen by the senior class (typically at a high school, very rarely at an old age home, or an event for men whose sons bear identical names to their patriarch) in which the entire class ditches (ie: does not show up; goes completely AWOL). It is a tradition to notify the staff at the institution of the plans arising, including minute details informing which day the event will take place. This, in my opinion, makes the day absolutely no fun! The purpose of a ditch day is its spontaneity, the chance of a last fling of irresponsible and thoughtless behavior. (But maybe that’s just me) (On second thought, I can understand why apprising the faculty is necessary).
However, this was no ordinary senior ditch day, hastily scheduled on a day with no tests, quizzes, or projects planned. (Come to think of it, I can’t think of any day that fits that description) Instead, Thursday and Friday were discussed, pondered, configured, and formulated a good two or three weeks in advance. Why, might you ask? Simply, because most of the seminary interviews were scheduled for those days.
For all those who have yet to have a daughter who attended the 12th grade, this season is like no other. It is nearly a guarantee that the entire senior class’ focus is completely centered on what we have nicknamed, ‘seminary hock’.
According to an anonymous source — it might have been Websters, Google, or me, but you’ll never know — seminary hock refers to the ceaseless discussion of seminary applications, interviews, and all other matters relating to seminary. A typical conversation will go something like this.
Malky Devoiry: “Did you hear, Chana Shprintza Faiga from Camp Olga is applying to Bnos Hinda Yaffa!”
Hadassah Breindy: “Oh my gosh, that’s sooo not her type!”
Malky Devoiry: “What, isn’t Bnos Hinda Yaffa super academic and jappy?”
Hadassah Breindy: “No, you’re thinking of Bnos Hudis Yenta.”
Malky Devoiry: “Oh no, I may have a nervous breakdown! I think I applied to the wrong place!!” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent).
It is understandable that the week of the interviews is most stressful. Everyone is frantically researching the perfect answers for each seminary, and whether they should wear pearl or diamond earrings. The climax arrives as two by two, each girl departs for the Tri-State area, awaiting their interviews with bated breath. Well, not quite everyone.
The interviewees at my top two seminaries were not able to fly into New York. Since it was deemed nonsensical to fly in for just one interview, it was decided that all my interviews should be online, on Zoom. (See, Just Zoom It for details). By the time Thursday rolled around, every single girl had left- except for me.
Now, everyone thought I was completely insane for coming to school. I was bombarded with bewildered queries, all wondering why I did not choose to to attend ‘Zoom school’, or take a mental health day. I wasn’t always sure how to respond. I didn’t truly know why I came to school. It just seemed the right thing to do. It was only once I came home that I understood the decision I had made. You see, even with the class absent, my teachers still came to school to teach. They deserve to have a live student in the classroom for them educate in real time. Also, I feel that this initiated the idea that it’s okay to come to school when many of your friends are not there. Even if half the school is quarantined, there are still valuable things to be gained by attending school in person, even if the day is atypical.
This idea can really be applied in all aspects of life. Whether in the work force, at home, or really anywhere, you can go the extra mile by partaking in every matter no matter how irregular it has become. By doing so, you can set the example and be in a class of your own.