Along with the knowledge that my senior year is the most fun of the four years of high school, it also is the most stressful. Colleges, grades, work, and leaving family and friends. This will be an experience that will change my life forever.
Applying to colleges is obviously stressful a moment in a student's life. Deciding whether or not to go to college, and where to go and what to study. College is where I think I'm going to learn a lot about myself. I'll be on my own. Granted, I won't be completely independent because I'll have many responsibilities and decisions.
An endless flow of questions has been running through my head this year. Having decided to go to college, I had to select a few colleges and universities that are a certain size, a certain distance from home, that require the SAT scores and grades I have, and offer the courses I want to take. Now that I've completed what felt like a year-long application process, I have to wait. That's probably the worst part: waiting and wondering and hoping. I know from those that accept me, the one I choose will be where I'll spend the next four years of my life. Will I ever figure out what I want as a career? It scares me because I only know what I want to study. I have no specific profession in mind.
Some people say that senior year is the year to kick back and sleep; that grades don't matter once you've gotten a good job or been accepted to college. I disagree. Yes, senior year is less stressful for me as far as grades go, but that's only because I have less work. Keeping up my grades is still just as important to me as it was freshman year. What if my grades suddenly dropped second semester? It's definitely possible that schools where I am accepted will drop my admission.
Many students going to college need to earn money for their meal plan, books and supplies and expenses. I know that I'll be working this summer to earn money, adding stress on my summer. But despite it being a vacation, I'm going to realize that I'm going to college, and that my parents won't pay for as much anymore.
Finally, senior year brings the fear of leaving family and friends with whom I've spent my whole life. Keeping in touch with my family will be easy because I'm won't be going far, but my friends going to distant colleges will have a more difficult time. Depending on family relationships, life away from home may be hard for some. It will be such a different environment than at home for me.
I've grown up with the same group of people since I was in kindergarten. I've shared happy and tragic moments with them, which have brought us closer. But what worries me is that I won't stay in touch with them in college. They won't be living in the same area. In fact, some are going to schools across the country, and others aren't going to school, but have jobs around the country.
Along with the fear of college comes excitement and anticipation, knowing that I'll be living on my own with people in the same situation as me. Hopefully they will become good friends. Senior year should be taken seriously, but it also should be a year to remember as the most fun and one memorable of high school. v
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.