Now that summer is almost over, are you wondering about what your senior year will be like?
Welcome incoming seniors! Hope you had a fantastic summer and are enjoying your last days to their fullest 🙂
Now that your senior year is rapidly approaching, you might feel anxious, excited, exhausted, and even scared. Compared to your first three years of high school, senior year is an especially promising and exhilarating one. But at the same time, many of your days might be filled with fear and self-doubt about what lies ahead.
About 5 years ago, I was especially apprehensive about senior year. My family drowned me with advice, and I learned to dread that one seemingly innocent question you may often get asked, “What college are you going to?” Even though my senior class was in a good high school that prepared us all academically, we still had to face many other challenges. No manual, study guide, article, or any amount of advice could prepare us for the rough patches and surprising opportunities that lay ahead of senior year.
In that spirit, here’s a short collection of unconventional but useful observations that I wish someone had told me:
You’re going to feel very alone
Unfortunately this first one is a downer and not about baby turtles or puppies. Senior year is often a hypersocial time with many school activities, parties with friends, and other kinds of celebrations with family. But at some point the party ends and, suddenly, your closest friends since childhood are far away. You can’t exactly prepare for this shift or know how you’ll feel when it happens. It’s something you experience and then cope with when it happens.
College acceptances don’t define you but are still really nice
This also applies to the many other kinds of applications that you’ll have the pleasure to complete. They’re excessively tedious and often are a lottery; you may feel like you might as well be tossing pennies into a well. And you probably have heard many times that the results don’t define you or your worth as a person. But the first few rejections can certainly feel that way—your first big acceptance may feel incredible. Congratulations in advance 🙂
Take full advantage of senior perks and activities with your friends
What’s especially nice about senior year is that you may have access to a car now, and you can get away with a lot more. That’s a beautiful combination. Do you want to do a drive by in your car where your friends pelt freshmen with tennis balls? Go wild! Fancy having a formal cafeteria lunch where your friends all dress up, serve a delicious 3 course meal on fine china, and delight in the hall monitor’s baffled expression after seeing your buddy cut the beef wellington—with what sounds like a miniature chainsaw—as your other friend in a tux skillfully plays the violin?!
Go for it!
(For the record, we were the freshmen that got barraged with tennis balls and that last scene really did happen.)
Seriously consider doing a gap year and community college
One of your choices as a high school senior is to take a gap year. You can postpone higher education or full time work right after high school. During this time you could engage in traveling, volunteering, studying, or anything else that suits you! Personally, I felt that taking a year off helped me better center myself before going back to school. Depending on your financial situation, you may also want to compare community college over other schools.
Your results often vary, but that’s not always a bad thing
What does that even mean? I’m actually still figuring this one out for myself, and I feel there’s something important here that ties everything together. Oh, that’s right… senior year might feel uncomfortably ambiguous and, at the same time, you may find yourself having to make some pretty huge decisions that you’re unprepared for. Later on, some of your choices will seem completely wrong. For others, you’ll feel glad and cherish those experiences.
What are you dreading and looking forward to about senior year?
Other high school seniors would enjoy reading your thoughts on this!
Contributed by Nick Fochtman