Senior Woes

Co Editor in Chief “Everyone in the senior class is basically falling apart.” “Oh, completely. At least three seniors were crying in the freshman bathroom yesterday.” “I only heard about two…but it is a lot of pressure, with apps and deadlines and maintaining grades and first quarter deadlines-” “-and more deadlines…” “Exactly. Well, at least everything will be over by December 15th -“ “Stop! Stop saying dates. Numbers stress me out.” “Fine. At least we’ve got second semester.”   For the most stressed among us, high school life in its entirety has lead up to this semester; we’ve kept grades in mind since Freshman year, we’ve taken APs and ACT tests, but what happens in the first semester of senior year is when all of the decision-making happens. It’s scary how much this time will matter in our lives, but that’s not all we have to worry about. We’re told to focus on college and the actual application aspects of it, but we’re also told to maintain our grades for college applications (and for the classes themselves), and also reprimanded by our parents for caring too much about college applications and grades and things that “ultimately don’t matter in the end.” In short, we’re told to prioritize everything (even the mutually exclusive things), giving the first quarter/semester far more weight. In some ways, senior year feels like the view from a pinhole camera lens; we all know that we’re being irrational about grades and stress and college applications, but we don’t care. We’ve been thinking of senior year in attack mode, in which if people aren’t going through what we’re going through (read: if they have stable careers or their lives just aren’t in flux), they’re automatically a them against us, and therefore can’t tell us anything we want to hear. All of this seems relatively well known, just a by-product of too many consequences in too short of an amount of time, something that has happened before and will happen again each fall. But that itself is the main problem with the situation: each year, underclassmen see seniors piling on more responsibilities, stressing, and overextending themselves to ridiculous degrees. When most of these seniors end up in (generally) the places they wanted to go in the beginning, it sends a message to the underclassmen that no matter how much stress goes into first semester, if everything floats on okay in terms of college acceptance, the lack of sleep and obscenely long To Do lists are justified. There will always be more pressure on each younger class, and at least this year, the junior class has already started internalizing it, as evidenced in the sheer amount of people doubling up in honors classes and leadership responsibilities to seem more competitive. First semester senior year puts us in the weird predicament where a bad grade on a math test can actually determine our futures. But if we keep thinking of our futures as hinging on the college factor, not only will we drive ourselves mad, but we’ll also be effectively dooming the mental states of future high school seniors in the process. I can say with relative certainty that most of us students in the senior class will definitely get into college, and regardless of our first choice decisions, by this time next year, we won’t be able to imagine being anywhere else. It’s just the reconciliations with our deadlines that are the difficult pa]]>