As the juniors feel the end of the year winding down, the buzz starts humming: “We’re going to be seniors next year! Can you believe it?” While senior year is something to be wonderfully excited about, it is also extremely stressful, especially at Oakland where the stress begins junior year with common phrases like “I hope I get into college! I wish I knew what I want to study!” chiming through the halls. It’s no secret: senior year is hard, from the whole college process to challenging classes to all the final moments. In order to help those who will be running this final lap soon, here is some advice from those who are almost at the finish to (hopefully!) make this year a smidge easier.
“Dear Juniors, if I could give you one piece of advice I’d say apply to at least one Early Action or Rolling Admissions school. That way, you’ll know you’re into at least one place early on in the process. Aside from that, honestly, just try to relax. Yes, you will get in somewhere. And yes, you will be happy. College is a fit to be found, not a prize to be won. Do your best and your best is good enough. Think about what’s best for you, then go find it. Don’t rule out anything and keep an open mind when trying new things. Crazy things are going to happen and it is going to be a wild and fun ride. Hang in there and good luck!” – Maggi Richard
“Don’t sweat a bad grade on a test, look at the big picture. One bad grade won’t keep you from getting into college.” – Emma Osterhaus
“Enjoy every moment of it with your friends and family because it goes by in the blink of an eye. I would also say to participate in different school events because you never realize how much you’ll miss everyone and everything about high school!” – Olivia Leblanc
“Every junior worries about what senior year will bring. It’s inevitable; fear of the future will always haunt us. But just because we fear the future doesn’t mean it won’t hold some extraordinary surprises. So here’s some advice from a graduated senior to the juniors-soon-to-be-seniors, to help you find the silver lining in your senior year.
Senior year is stressful. There’s no way around it: you have a million things to do, between schoolwork, extracurriculars, college apps, and trying to maintain a social life. Accept this, and be ready for it. But try to have fun and relax when you can.
It’s ok to procrastinate, as long as you still get everything turned in on time. People will constantly tell you not to procrastinate, and if you don’t, that’s amazing – keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy your hard earned peace of mind. But if you are a procrastinator, it’s not the end of the world. Some people simply work best under pressure or when they can see an imminent deadline. Just make sure you do get all your work done – even if it’s at the very last minute.
It’s not a competition to see who is the most stressed out or who has the most work to do. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “Oh, you slept five hours last night? Well, I slept three!” It’s not a competition to see who has slept the least in the past week – because trust me, the chances are pretty high that most of you aren’t getting enough sleep. So try to sleep when you can and take care of yourself. If you have free time, enjoy it, and relax. You will be stressed out regardless, so don’t overdo it.
You will want to do everything, because it’s your last chance to do so, but that doesn’t mean that you should. It’s your senior year – you’ll want to stay up all night with friends or take seven AP classes, to go to every football game and then not sleep Sunday night so that you can study and ace the test coming up on Monday- but that doesn’t mean that you should do everything or can do everything. Plan your time accordingly. If you have a test on Monday, forgo the football game and go next weekend. Yes, do everything you can, but don’t overdo it – you’ll stretch yourself thin and won’t be able to enjoy what you’re currently doing because you’ll be worried about what you still have to do.
College applications are important – sometimes more important than schoolwork. If you feel inspired to write an application essay, do it, even if you have a crap ton of math homework due tomorrow (try to struggle through the math later).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your teachers/parents/counselors/friends want to help you in whatever way they can. They want you to succeed as much as you do, so let them.
Senioritis is very very real. Don’t let it drag you down. Hold yourself accountable for everything you have to do. If that means telling someone to constantly check up on you so that you ensure that you’re actually doing work, do it. If it means turning off your phone, do it. Your grades don’t mean everything, but they are pretty important, so keep trying, even when it feels impossible and you have no motivation.
All in all, the biggest thing to remember is not to get caught up in what you still have to do and forget to enjoy what you’re currently doing.” – Caroline Albacete
“Senior year is a crazy time. The most important thing, over classes, college apps, or social events, is being good to yourself. Do something in the midst of the hectic time that you would thank yourself for. Take an afternoon off and go for a walk in the park. Read a book. Turn off your phone with all of its noise and distractions and relax. Pay attention to your physical health and emotional health, both are very important and letting either of them slip will hinder your success. And yes, while success is important and you want to accomplish all of these big important things, you matter more than what you could ever succeed in.
In that vein, please don’t try to lead too many things. Pick two or three extracurriculars or sports that you want to be “all in” for, and devote yourself to them. Spreading yourself too thin will result in some really amazing moments when your diversity of interests pays off, but also some unfortunate mistakes when you realize that you really cannot do everything and you end up disappointing the people you tried to help.
As you hear so many people talk about the dreaded disease of senioritis (feeling burnt out, or simply that you cannot do anything anymore), don’t just dismiss it and assume that you will be immune. Unfortunately, willing yourself to keep working and resist the sickness that begins to claim many of your classmates won’t cut it. Take some medicine for the senioritis, and try to make it until the end.
Honestly, senior year is the best and worst year of high school, so do your best to live every moment and every day to its fullness.” -Kathryn Daigle
“I’m going to be perfectly honest, senior year hit me like a truck. Between activities and college applications and higher level courses, it was more work than I could possibly have imagined. It taxed my mind, body, and spirit more than I care to admit. But, at the end of the day, this has been the most rewarding year of my life. Ultimately, my advice is as follows: be prepared. Get your work done. Do what you need to do. But don’t forget to live in the moment. This is your last year of high school, your best year of high school. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll grow up a lot. Cherish the memories and never forget to tell your friends and family – for me they are one and the same – that you love them. Congratulations on only one year left!” – Isabella Very