Dear Incoming Seniors
May 13, 2022
First things first: senioritis is real, and do not underestimate it. Every time you think it is getting bad, it will, in fact, get worse. And although you have probably been told that senior year will be better than junior year, this is only half true. In part, senior year is better because now you are the oldest, the supposed seasoned veterans of the school. This year, you are more comfortable in the school, know more people, and get a couple extra days off just because you are a senior. These are all wonderful perks…but there is also a lot more new pressure as a senior.
Some make the probably smart decision to take a lighter classload, but for those who end up juggling multiple A.P.s, extracurriculars, and athletics, this year, quite frankly, may be even worse than junior year in that respect. So if you plan to not lighten your load, at the very least take classes that genuinely interest you. Because now, in addition to regular school, seniors have to deal with applying to college or careers as well as figuring out graduation requirements and plans — which can be fun as long as you don’t let it overwhelm you.
My advice for college applications? Do. Not. Wait. Sometimes school or extracurriculars seem all-consuming and important, but if you are going to college, that is your future and it takes precedence. Your teachers may not be happy or even understanding, but in my experience, it is worth it to devote more time to the college search and application process even at the expense of schoolwork. My second piece of advice: use your resources. Become best friends with your counselor, familiar with all the college prep sites, and don’t be afraid to ask college-graduated adults in your life about their experiences. One of the most common regrets I have heard from seniors is that we all felt woefully unprepared for the college process. So learn as much as you can and get things done sooner rather than later. And do not forget that colleges need you — not the other way around. So be picky, figure out what you want in a college, and go for it. High school is not the end of the road for you…so that B or C that may happen if you focus your attention on college apps over schoolwork will not kill you — I promise.
For those not planning to go to college, the same thing essentially applies. You are setting up your future beyond high school this year, so try not to put it off. Your future is valuable and important and deserves your time and energy. This is a time to discover, believe, and invest in yourself.
So yes, senior year inevitably brings with it some stress and anxiety. You’re preparing to leave the only life you’ve really ever known: the lower-ed school system. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, frustrating, joyous — all the emotions. And all these emotions will hit you at different times — probably when you least expect it, in fact. Your year, especially second semester, will be a rollercoaster and you will have to figure out a way to ride it out and even embrace it.
This does not mean that senior year won’t be the best year of high school, however. This year, I highly encourage you to truly do what you enjoy. Go to games, theater performances, club events. Enjoy those night drives with friends, those long days spent commiserating over lack of motivation and even those final English projects that you may otherwise despise. And don’t skip the senior traditions. The sunrises, skip days, breakfast: they are worth your time and besides, they always serve as a good excuse to catch up with friends.
Senior year is a year of lasts, so make the most of it.