A Glimpse at the REAL Senior Year

By Bailey Marshall

“It’ll be fun,” they said.

For your entire academic career it’s always, “oh I wonder what I’ll be like Senior year,” “I wonder where I’ll go to college,” “My classes will be a breeze,” but just like any other situation in the real world, the anticipation can be merrier than the actual experience. Here are ten things that you must know as a Senior in high school.

1. You cannot, and I repeat CANNOT, start your college applications too early.

The great thing about college is that they want your money so most of them open their application process up in July and August. Submit them as early as you can because your second semester will be full of scholarships… but we will cover that in a second. Also, it is important to research the schools you are applying to. Each college does their application process differently. Set up your account with the college and the Coalition of Common Application and check deadlines. Some may be due in October, while others may be due in January. Top notch universities have thousands of people apply to their college every year; they do not care if you get your application in or not, so they are not going to remind you to do it. It is your responsibility to manage all of your college applications and accounts so start early.

2. Learn how to do it yourself.

For goodness sake, you are about to be adults, start packing your own lunch, reading your email, and getting stuff done. As high school students we get caught in the mindset that to get anything done we need a supervisors help, that’s not our fault, we have been taught to function that way. However, if you continue that trend into your senior year and beyond, your future will not be favorable. If you need a transcript, go to guidance and ask for one, if you need to place a cap and gown order, get money from your parents and go online and order it, if you need to mail a scholarship, go to the post office (yes, I said it, the age-old post office) and mail it yourself. If you want to see something happen, take action to make it happen, do not doddle, you do not have much time left. Dependence on other people will lead to your failure.

3. Get help.

Yes, it is time to do it yourself, but it is also okay to learn and receive help from others. High school is one of the last places you will find where there are people with open arms willing to help you. Take advantage of that, learning how to do it for yourself so that you can when you have to. Learn from others so you can do it yourself. (Also, if you have a question about anything college application, acceptance, or scholarship related, each university has phone numbers available online just for that.)

4. Get ready to wait.

It is a waiting game. Colleges will wait months to release their admissions decisions, and scholarship committees do the same. You will learn the art of patience.

5. It is a different kind of excitement.

It is very possible that you will not have a dream school or you will not be thrilled on graduation night, and that is really okay. The anticipation is more fun than the real thing sometimes and that is just life. Relish in the little victories and do not expect great ones all the time. It is going to feel different than you thought it would.

6. Be Present.

The reason that anticipation is often greater than the real thing is because we forget to live in the moment and enjoy what we have. The future may seem beautiful in our minds, but you are at the place where you are at for a reason. Do not jump the gun.

7. There is a difference between diligence and due diligence.

If you are an overachiever (maybe a first born), you may feel the urge to do it all. You owe it to yourself to be thorough, but you also owe yourself grace. Rest is important. Not just physical sleep, but mental and emotional rest. Otherwise, you will cry a lot.

8. Nothing is that important.

Your world is small. Stop putting so much emphasis on the things that will not carry into your next world.

9. Love your parents.

You do not have much more time in their house.

10. Slack, just do not break the rope.

Even if the only thing keeping you motivated in second semester is the academic chord you will get to wear at graduation, take that motivation and harness it. Your motivation will be few and far between. Find the sources of it and trap it. Maximum effort is no longer needed, just helpful.