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

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   The final year of high school, many will agree, is loaded with chaos, confusion, and memories. Besides becoming obsessed with taking the "perfect picture" for the yearbook and driving one's parents to think they'll end up in bankruptcy court over the prom and senior class trips and the line "I need money," perhaps the most chaotic, confusing and memorable aspect of senior year is the amazing amount of mail one receives. Admission officers bombard students with letters and brochures selling their colleges as aggressively and seductively as politicians sell themselves.

Letters are addressed on a first-name basis and brochures are filled with the most alluring images. Photogenic students carrying out daily routines are captured in their most prolific and creative moments. Images not included are of those masked individuals overdosed on caffeine and sugar, leaning languishing over voluminous texts; or of those on the verge of expulsion that stand pleadingly before the Dean.

The fact is, colleges are very particular about their image because image is money, and students bring in money. College brochures are mailed out as selectively as a common cold is caught. Inside the brochures, besides bright photos and persuasive paragraphs, there are inquisitive questionnaires called applications. Applications are dressed up with as many positive points as possible and at the interviews, polished facades work like fool's gold to those who look for objects that shine.

The application (also transcripts) along with interviews and essays are a college's way of delving into a student to see if s/he will "make it" or is needed at that particular college. The colleges' responses to the applications they receive hold joy, indifference, or heartbreak to those to whom they are addressed.

So how does one deal with the fear and anxieties about college and the future? There are no easy or quick answers, but there are a few steps that might be helpful not only in choosing and applying to colleges but also in life. They are: look beyond the facade; first tend to your needs then your wants; and lastly, aim high but don't hang your hat where your hands can't reach after persistent effort; the disappointments will be fewer. In other words, don't limit yourself in the colleges you apply to, but also be aware that everyone has limits; C+ students with 700 on their SATs are better off not applying to Harvard or Yale.

On a final note, I'd like to encourage all new seniors and in fact all students to appreciate fully the time spent in high school; it's a time when you can enjoy being both a child and an adult without being ridiculed. I mention this because it is not uncommon to hear students in their junior or sophomore year, or seniors in October or November say "I can't wait to graduate and get it over with." Be advised that it all ends quickly enough; it sneaks up on you and before you realize it. You'll be startled into seniority - the beginning of the end. For seniors, reality usually kicks in around March or April prior to graduation. They begin to say things like "I can't believe that it is almost over" or "In spite of everything, I'm really gonna miss this place." After this, seniors begin to feel the pain in June (or before, in some instances) at graduation when the finality of it all is sinks in.

Many understandably put off telling friends and teachers how much they are appreciated until the very end. But in those final days, emotions run high and the heartfelt words we intended to say comes across in remarks that are too-often clich"s, i.e. "I'll miss you; keep in touch; good luck." Therefore, I encourage all to appreciate things and people when you are still experiencing them so that your memories will be richer. c


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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