Dear Seniors This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 12, 2008
Senioritis. Is it real? Does it matter if it’s not? So many expectations make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. After three years of teachers and homework, fights and reconciliations, boyfriends, girlfriends, and “just friends,” seniors are tired. Tired of coupling social stress with the responsibilities of being a student. We are sick of these four walls, only because we know how close freedom is.

We feel the pull to slack off and ditch simply ­because we know that one year from now we will be adults in every sense of the word. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in a classroom bound by teachers’ rules, staring out the window as the world happens around us.

As freshmen, we came to high school with scared faces, looking for our names. We didn’t fit into this new school. Now, three years later, we have our names, our all-important reps, our friends, our places.

Now what we lack is interest. We aren’t interested in walking these halls, and we don’t care about the drama. We lack the motivation to deal with the ignorance, the shallowness that pervades high school. We are worried – worried about the future, worried about not feeling differently than we did in previous years.

As seniors, we have three years of high school ­experience under our belts. We can deal with the classes, the workload; we know which teachers to avoid. We have made the grades despite ourselves.

None of this bothered us as freshmen, sophomores, or even juniors. But now, as we stand so close to the edge of “real life,” we can’t help but inch closer. We can feel the freedom tempting our senses. We can see the light at the end of this tunnel, and we can’t look away.

Somehow, as we step into the role of seniors, we shed tolerance. Tolerance of the same classrooms, of so many things ­being pushed at us. Maybe it’s college ­applications, job interviews, and graduation plans that push us to our limit.

Maybe it’s all the “lasts.” Last homecoming, last football game, last competition, last prom, last chance at a high-school dream.

We have walked these comfortable paths since freshman year, complaining the entire time. Every year, we gained the confidence to get louder and the wisdom to contain ourselves. We went from freshmen clinging to the shreds of junior-high ­friendships to young men and women steps away from “real life.”

But now, when we are so close to leaving, nostalgia mixes with separation anxiety and fear of the ­future. It’s hard to believe that soon we will be saying our last good-byes and looking back fondly as we leave the shadows of our pasts to dance beyond these walls. On the day when we make that walk, we will be walking away from our past selves and appreciation will dawn on us.

Senioritis is one of the facts of being a senior. It’s an annoyance at best and a handicap at worst, causing us to phase out and slack off. However, it can strengthen us if we realize what it is. We can’t use it as a crutch or let it become our weakness. Those who do will leave high school with disdain for what it means to be a senior.

For this final year, challenge yourself: wrestle with your unhappy attitudes, and smile. With these last months that remain to experience your high school years, you have to do so. After graduation, you will never be able to look back the way you can now. There is something to be said for the phantoms of memory that are conjured up by passing the locker of your first high-school crush or glancing at the ­hallway ­famous for your biggest heartbreak. Enjoy it while you can.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

birdyjo said...
Dec. 8, 2008 at 1:29 am
I really do believe you have captured our feelings as seniors so incredibly well! I live these words everyday! To see it in this form is amazing. Thanks for immortalizing it for me!
Albi said...
Nov. 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm
That's some nice writting right there. and thanks for the advice! As seniors, we definetly need to enjoy every last minute of our high school year
viking said...
Oct. 24, 2008 at 3:42 pm
good story tells about highschool
Pinecone said...
Oct. 1, 2008 at 8:15 pm
wow, great job! you really wrote what we need!
Amber W said...
Sept. 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm
I really appreciate all you've said here, as a highschool senior I completely relate. Thank you for so well putting into words some of these thoughts and feelings. :)
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