Dear rising seniors…
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The halls are emptier. The classrooms are quieter. The teachers are filled with nostalgia. These sentiments only occur as the seniors inch closer and closer to receiving their diploma. Typically, we focus on the accolades of the graduating class instead of the class taking their place. Therefore, all rising seniors, this is for you.
Next year will be the most amazing, hectic and nerve-wracking year of your life, and that is not to be taken lightly. The key to starting off on the right foot is how you choose to spend your summer. Ultimately, this summer will be the last one you have before making post-graduation plans; therefore, spend it figuring out what you want to do. Go on college visits, contact admission offices to let them know that you are interested and meet as many people as possible. You may decide that college isn’t right for you, and that is perfectly acceptable as long as it is your decision.
“The first thing that I would suggest for them [rising seniors] to do is to sit down with themselves and think about who they are, what they consider to be their own personal identities and, from there, begin to seriously plan goals that they have for themselves,” Lindsay Douglas said.
At the start of your senior year, you should have an idea of what your goals are for the year. Throughout high school you may have had a general overview of what you want to do, but now is the time to narrow it down. Getting to know what you want and where you want to go will be the hardest part, but it will get easier with time.
This final year also places the most responsibility on you. You will be responsible for keeping up with deadlines for college essays, guidance counselor reports and more. Therefore, get acquainted with your counselors; they will be in charge of the majority of your college materials. They may know who you are as a student, but knowing who you are as a person helps tremendously.
Moreover, if you haven’t already asked for teacher recommendations, then you need to begin to think of who knows you best. Teacher recommendations can make or break what a college thinks of you because teachers get to experience everything about you firsthand.
But seemingly the most important thing about senior year is fighting the disease that infects us all at some point in time: senioritis. You will have activities, college, scholarships, friends and families to worry about, and the last thing that you want to think about is school. But no matter what, remember that you must do the work. Finding a good balance is what keeps you sane through the year. Most teachers will let you know in advance what work is due, so take that opportunity to finish early. Also, what you do senior year does weigh heavily on your final transcript, which can make or break your scholarship offers.
“Focus really hard to keep a steady work schedule [to battle senioritis],” Ryan Cox (12) said.
When the first semester concludes, it brings the highest and lowest points in a senior’s life. College acceptances and rejections, prom and graduation are all the best and worst parts, but, through these ups and downs, remember that everything happens for a reason.
When you get your first acceptance letter, it’s like getting everything you want for your birthday. You are relieved that you are going to college and extremely proud at the same time. On the other hand, rejection letters sting. Getting rejected doesn’t make you stupid or lesser than anyone else, it just means that the school is not for you. Yes, it hurts, and at times it calls you to question what you did wrong. Nevertheless, don’t determine your worth based on acceptance or rejection letters because at the end of the day those letters don’t measure who you are as a person.
After all the letters have been opened, it seems like the year is over. The only things left are prom and graduation, so take those moments and enjoy them. Prom will be one of the most exciting experiences of the year. Being able to spend time with all your friends and dance until midnight is not something to be taken for granted.
So all in all, rising seniors, I challenge you to know yourself. Research different schools that you think will fit you, not just because of the name. Start getting teacher recommendations and college essays planned in your head. Get to know your counselors. Find a good balance with the time-consuming activities in your life. Know your deadlines for everything. Don’t linger on where you feel you should’ve been accepted. But most importantly, enjoy senior year. This is the last year you have with the majority of people you have known, so take that opportunity and run with it.