Tips for Your Last Year of High School from a Graduating Senior
Right after the end of my junior year, I remember how scared and stressed I was to start my very last year of high school. Everybody told me how stressful and tiring the college application process was and, in my head, I created this image that I was about to enter the most challenging year of my primary education. Now, I am weeks away from graduation, and I can confidently say there was no need to be stressed, for this was one of the most exciting years of my high school career. Through this article, I hope to share with you some of the few things that I have learned throughout this year that will hopefully help you enjoy your senior year the most.
First of all, it is important to acknowledge the elephant in the room: college applications. Most of the bad reputation that senior year gets comes from the stressful nature of college apps --- after all, in very few months, you have to condense your whole life into a few pages to get accepted into the college that will grant you the pass for the rest of your life. But talking like this gives this moment a lot more pressure than is needed; in reality, this is just the very first stepping stone. There is no need to put this much pressure on yourself because stress will only harm your performance and mental health, and no college is worth losing your mental health over. Take this time with ease while still being aware of your duties and on top of your deadlines; try to get everything done early in the year so that, when the first deadline comes, all you have to do is put your work together and send it in. College applications can be an extremely fun process because you are looking within yourself and discovering facets of your personality that you might not have known existed. Take this time seriously, but not too much. Remember that, in the future, all you will remember will be the most impactful moments, so try to make the best out of them.
For the first few months, it’s okay to be lost: you're just now beginning to make very important life decisions, and you won’t always know what the best path to take is; that is why it is essential to seek help from those who have already walked down this path. Your teachers, parents, siblings, and even peers can help you when you need it— regardless if it is with your applications, APs, or personal problems. Even if seniors are often those who help others, someday they will need support, and it's okay to ask for help because there will be someone out there ready to take your hand and help you go through whatever it is that you’re dealing with. When you are a part of the oldest class in your school, there is often quite a bit of pressure on your shoulders because not only are you expected to succeed in your personal endeavors, but you also have to be an example to the younger students of the school. One doesn’t need to carry all this weight alone; it is totally fine to share the load with others that have the tools to help you.
After the stressful parts are over or too far away to be seen, you’ll notice that, when you are a senior, the school often creates special moments for your class. And it’s always a great opportunity for you to get closer to your teachers and peers. The people that you’re graduating with will probably be the people that you will meet ten years down the line for a class reunion, so try to have a good relationship with them, even if they are not your best friends. The memories you create with these people will last for years and years to come. Also, it's great to try and create opportunities for bonding as a class. This can be done through hangouts outside of school, creating games and activities during class with your teachers, and helping your class fundraise for your graduation; there will be so many opportunities to create good memories with your classmates that if you take these times to bond with your peers, this year will be much more meaningful. However, it is important to emphasize that, more often than not, you won’t be able to be best friends with everyone, but that is not necessary if you have a peaceful relationship with most of your classmates while you're friends with only a handful of people.
Last but not least, it is essential that you give back to your school community, and especially to your teachers. These are the people that have seen you grow, no matter if you have been studying at EABH for a year or since kindergarten, and they love you just as much as you love them, so make sure to demonstrate this love. This can be through a cute letter, a gift, or anything that you feel will demonstrate your appreciation in a meaningful manner. Remember that teachers and staff play huge roles in the student's lives, and you wouldn’t be who you are without them. So, before you leave, remember to thank them and give them a huge hug for everything they had to endure when teaching you and your class.
Senior year, even though sometimes stressful, will be one of the most memorable years of your life, so it’s important to enjoy everything you can: go to parties, study hard, and spend time with your peers and teachers. Every moment will count to make this a great year. And even if, for some reason, you are unable to enjoy these moments, remember that this is just the beginning of the rest of your life. The really fun part is yet to come.