Column: Senior year not as glamorous as put out to be

Kasey Stallbaum

Kasey Stallbaum

As an underclassman I always looked forward to senior year as being a fly-by year full of easy classes and only a short time until I was completely done with high school. Now, being a senior well into my second semester, my image of senior year has changed. What I had thought to be an uncomplicated year in high school has turned into a year of stress, deadlines, decisions, and procrastination.

Little kids are always asked what they want to be when they grow up, and that question never really has an ending. As a senior the pressure is on to decide what you want to major in, where you want to go, and what you want to do with your life. It feels like wherever you go the people around you are continuously repeating those questions trying to gain insight on what exactly your future looks like. At the age of seventeen and eighteen, some seniors are still unsure of what path they want to take but are still asked to make a decision by graduation.

We spend the first half of senior year choosing a college that will ‘fit’ us, being told to apply to any place that interests us and then visit and make a decision. The decision is supposed to be based on what is important to us, the food, distance from home, majors available and the dorm/campus life. For some seniors they have had this choice made since freshman year, but for others it is a stressful decision that could change the entire future.

When thinking about the future some seniors are excited to leave this town and be on their own. Others are terrified of the idea of a new beginning, but one thing that all senior can agree on is this: College is expensive, and we are scared by the idea we have to pay for it.

One very important task that comes with being a senior is scholarships. The more you fill out, the more free money you have the chance of receiving. Easier said than done. The first semester of senior year we are given a list of multiple possible scholarships, and the list is continuously added to throughout the year. Most scholarships are lengthy and require FAFSA information, personal information, an essay, and at least one letter of recommendation. With each scholarship comes a deadline, and with each deadline comes procrastination. Come second semester, those scholarship deadlines become nearer, and it is a rush to get them all completed. The task of completed scholarships begins to feel like a job or a repetition of the same thing that consumes your time.

For classes, it is manageable to get by with an easy elective or a free period if you had completed all needed classes in the previous years. But that still leaves core classes that still need your full attention. Colleges continue to look at your final grades from senior year even after being accepted; if your grades show that you just slacked off senior year they can truly hurt your future.   

Although the tension of senior year is high, there are ways to get by and lower the stress level brought with it. The following are just a few suggestions to help senior year go smoothly:

  • Explore all your options for colleges and majors; there is some place and some career for you.
  • Stay on task. Don’t wait to do things like the FAFSA.
  • Complete the things you started.
  • Put in effort–nothing comes easily in life.
  • Remember to have fun. It’s the last year of high school and memories are all around you.