Column: Senior year is a scam

Final semesters let down expectations, changes students outlooks


Photo by Caitlyn Richey

In a digitally constructed image by senior Caitlyn Richey, photos of Christi Norris from her senior year are shown. Norris has attended Prosper High School since her sophomore year. In addition to writing and taking photos for Eagle Nation Online, Norris also works at a plant shop and writes for Greeley Lifestyle Magazine.

Throughout high school, I had an image in my mind of my senior year being a time of infinite fun, academic ease and zero worries. But now being a senior, that daydream about a paradisiacal final year without any worries, I have realized, is not reality. 

Coming into senior year, I had several friends graduate and leave for college, forcing my friend group to shrink drastically and my life to change. Despite my departing friends, I have been able to grow closer to my remaining friends and focus more on school – but my new excess of time did not help my grades. 

For me, junior year was a breeze. I took hard classes, was involved in the newspaper, had a job and an extremely active social life, but I learned how to manage my time, and I easily succeeded in all of my classes while still having a lot of fun.

My mindset going into my senior year was that it would be much easier having only six classes, since I was used to a difficult workload. Little did I know that U.S. Government would prove to be a very difficult course, World Literature consisted of an immense workload, and my other classes, combined with the added stress of college applications, extracurriculars, and now three jobs, would leave me overwhelmed.

No one told me that college applications are not only stressful, but confusing and tedious as well. I spent hours filling out basic information about my transcript, grades and activities on multiple platforms, as well as contacting teachers and mentors for letters of recommendation. On top of that, I also had several application essays to do, which meant the work I put into these applications often felt repetitious and wasteful, leading me to feel worn out. 

The first three months of my senior year consisted of daily work on college applications, going to work, large amounts of homework and frequently publishing for the newspaper. The perception I had built up in my mind of ease as a senior quickly faded, but I chose to remain optimistic and look for the moments of positivity. 

After realizing that my previous perception of senior year was false, I decided to not let it hold me back from having a good year. I focused on remaining organized while creating time for taking breaks, having fun and taking care of myself. I realized that there is no such thing as a life without stress, and have decided to embrace the good and the bad that this year and my future may bring. 

Despite my mountains of work, I have been able to participate in several fun activities, both in and out of school. Homecoming week was a great way to spend time with friends and the community as a whole. Football games, senior lunches and simply doing things I enjoy have also made the stress of senior year feel much less overwhelming. Embracing the challenges of my senior year while still focusing on living in the moment has changed my outlook on this year. It may not be easy, but I know this year will be a good one.

Now that I’ve been through the process of college applications, difficult classes, and “senioritis,” here’s my advice on how to be successful as a senior – while still having fun at the same time.

Academic & Application Success:

  • Have a planner or way to track your assignments and time
  • Set goals for yourself:
    • Academic goals can help you keep your grades up
    • Goals for applications can help you turn in things in a timely manner
    • Personal goals can help you feel accomplished outside of school 
  • Make time for relaxing and fun
  • Start your college applications early! 
    • Make a Common Application, Apply Texas, Coalition, or any other account early to get the tedious part out of the way. 
    • You can make a Common App account and fill out the application long before the applications open for submission.
    • Have your official transcripts downloaded on your computer for easy access.
    • Contact teachers, counselors, employers, and other mentors early to have them aware of your needs for recommendations.
    • Finalize your decisions on where you want to apply.
  • Cut out extra activities that you don’t have time for if you don’t enjoy being in a certain activity and it takes up too much time, get rid of it. 
  • Prioritize your grades. Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean your grades won’t affect you in the future. 
  • Take time to exercise and eat, just because you’re busy you shouldn’t quit on your health. 

Have Fun:

  • Be aware of community events that you may enjoy participating in:
  • Go to football or volleyball games or other sporting events to cheer on your peers.
  • Stop and smell the roses:
    • This is your last year before college, or a job or the military or wherever you go, so appreciate every minute – good or bad
  • Make a list of all the fun things you want to do throughout the year, so you have things to look forward to amidst all your work

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