By: Mackenzie Gosset
AP classes, college applications, the Common App, graduation, stress, college visits, prom, and goodbyes. What do all of these words have in common, you ask? Well, as you might have been able to guess, they are all little pieces that fit together to make up the puzzle of everyone’s final year of high school, the highly anticipated senior year. It is a series of countless lasts and farewells. It is a time to reflect on the past while also thinking about the future. It is a chance to make your mark and leave your legacy. It is an opportunity to explore your interests and figure out who or what you want to be. It is a chance to cherish the people you have grown up with and the memories you have created with them. It is the last chance, the final chapter, the end. How you choose to write this final chapter of your High School East story is up to you and only you, so choose wisely.
Everyone has mixed emotions about senior year: half couldn’t be more excited to be on our way to bigger and better things, while the other half is terrified of change. Although we all may have different feelings about the end of high school, it is approaching for all of us, and we must all figure out how to navigate through the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, and the victories and the failures together as the class of 2018.
The beginning of senior year consists of expectations at an all time high accompanied by many nerves. It tends to be extremely stressful as the rush of the beginning of a new school year begins to roll in; college applications are underway, last-minute subject testing is occurring, and after-school commitments are kicking off. In order to handle your busy and tough course load, it will be extremely helpful to make a daily schedule, utilize a calendar, and write in your agenda in order to keep track of all your tasks, commitments, and activities both in and out of school. This will help you keep on top of all of your due dates and appointments as time management is a key skill to have during this specific time period and moving forward. Even when you seem to have a lot on your plate, remember that there is a larger purpose for everything you are doing.
One of the biggest senior year “burdens” is the college applications that many of you are in the process of completing. You are at the brink of making life-changing decisions that seem to pop up before anticipated. Applying for college is a long, difficult, and stressful process; however, at the end of the day, it can be the most rewarding and unforgettable experience of your life. You should start as soon as possible on the application process (I’m talking to you too juniors) as you will need time to write essays, make a resume, and get letters of recommendation. If you wait until the last minute and have it creep up on you, your applications will not be done to your fullest potential and may pose as a threat to your acceptances at certain universities. Remember that millions of high school students are applying to get into their dream colleges just like all of you, and the college acceptance operation is extremely competitive. If you happen to not get admitted to your first choice or early decision school, do not sweat it. There is a place for everyone and everything does happen for a reason, even if at the moment your world appears to be “falling apart.” Even when times get rough and things may not go your way, keep moving forward. Just keep in mind that at the end of all this, you will be able to achieve your after high-school goal whether it be going to a big ten college, attending a small liberal arts college or maybe not continuing the educational process and enlisting in the military, or even jumping right into the workforce. Everyone has a place; it may just take some time and navigating to get there.
After finally making the decision of what you wish to do and where you wish to go following high school, students tend to develop a very common and highly contagious illness known as Senioritis; some symptoms include seniors who think they have their futures already planned out, lack of attention to school work, fading dedication to activities, and becoming completely checked out mentally. This “checking out” affects students’ grades, class performance, and attendance. Students will often stop coming to school everyday, stop studying for tests, stop doing homework, and stop paying attention in class. Although some students may think that senior year performance in the 2nd semester doesn’t count, they are totally wrong. Everything still counts until report cards come out at the end of senior year in June. Your end of senior year grades can very well be sent to your college, and if they are not up to par and in correlation with your previous grades, colleges with keep their eye on you specifically and your admission can potentially be revoked. If you do find yourself contracting a case of Senioritis, snap yourself out of it and continue working hard and being present. It will benefit you so much more.
And that leaves us with the emotional roller coaster that is senior year. Everyone is going to be extremely nostalgic, reminiscing on some of the best of times as reality keeps moving forward. It is your last year in high school and the last year before you enter the “real world.” Make it last. Get involved in different clubs, activities, and sports. Explore your academic and personal interests one last time before you must focus on the one thing you wish to pursue. Show the most school spirit you have ever had and get into things at events such as homecoming, senior banquet, and pep rally. Be a role model for the lower grades; impart the need to make every moment count upon them as well. Make and cherish memories with your friends, family, and classmates. Have fun. Have no regrets. Live every moment like it is your last because senior year will fly by in the blink of an eye. Don’t sweat the small things because before you know it, you will be on your way and unable to turn back the clock.
If you follow all of these guidelines, you are sure to make your senior year one you will be proud of, one you will look back on with a smile, and one that you will certainly never forget! Although senior year may have a lot of ups and downs, in the end when it is all said and done, what will matter is that everything we have put into the last 13 years has come together as we walk across the stage with a diploma in hand and start the next chapter of our lives, wherever that road may take us.
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