High School Expectations vs. Reality 4 of 4: Senior Year

Cayetana Jaramillo, Opinion Editor

My senior year always seemed like a faraway time that I was never fully prepared for, consumed by a mix of anxiety, patience, gratitude and sentimentality. A year of many lasts and prospective firsts; the last source of academic validation through college acceptances, the last high school dances with childhood friends, the last days of walking upstairs for the 7:20 bell. Senior year is different for every student, but no matter what, an emotional rollercoaster is guaranteed. 

Almost every incoming senior dreads the mountain of essays and deadlines that await them the first semester. While this is true, you will get it done. The application season seems daunting, but in the end, it proves to be a rewarding experience. Before you know it, your first semester of senior year is complete; the biggest load lifts off your shoulders and it is smooth sailing from there… Or is it?

No one warns how hard senioritis hits, but when it does, it feels inescapable. Once that first college acceptance lands in your hands, any and all motivation slips away. I encourage all incoming seniors to hang onto their energy and drive for as long as possible because it is so easy to lose that drive. The reality is: senioritis strikes harder and sooner than expected.

Senior year comes with many “lasts.” One can expect to feel that pervasive sadness even on the last first day of school. I knew it would be hard seeing all of my friends in our prom dresses, knowing it would be our last time all together for a school event, and I expect to shed a couple of tears at graduation. My biggest surprise, however, was a newfound overwhelming sense of pride for my class. I would walk the halls and see seniors, even students I have never spoken a word to, sporting their college merch and I could not help but feel this sense of pride and love for my class. Each and everyone made it through the past four years, succeeding in their individual ways. 

The last surreal experience incoming seniors may not expect is the unexpected growth and maturity that occurs throughout their last year. Over the past nine months, the sudden rush of overwhelming emotions, stress and relief push each senior to grow more comfortable with themselves as they prepare for their next big step, regardless of what that may be. It is important to recognize and value that change because it sets forth the foundation for post-graduation life.

All I can say is that high school flies by way too quickly, so do not blink. It is a critical and formative set of four years, but the best is yet to come. Good luck!