A Struggling Senior: Open Letter
I was fooled, bamboozled, and incredibly naive.
November 18, 2019
Senior year is no joke, and it’s time we all acknowledged it.
Looking back on my first three years of high school I shudder at how unaware I was of what was waiting for me in this final year. You hear rumors, mumbles of the difficulty that lies ahead, but it was almost a secret. As if this struggle was hidden to keep spirits high and hopes alive. While we trudged our way through the highly publicized junior grind, that really did not begin until the second semester, we waited anxiously for the elusive senior year to bless us with its freedom and unlimited memories.
For me, and many others, this idealized senior experience is currently non-existent. The status is there; the senior section is the place to solidify it; parking passes emphasize it; but the stress fades our egos.
I am not trying to say senior year is a disappointment, but in a way I would say that for all the hype, it is not all it was cracked up to be. Take my word as cautionary; the shock of the senior struggle is what makes it all the more powerful.
Junior year I dreaded, the warnings were around every corner from teachers, parents, and friends. Although I felt nervous, I was ready. When those hard times hit I was not phased because I knew it was coming. I had mentally prepared and there was a comfort in knowing just how hard it was going to be to score high on the ACT, maintain good grades, and build on extracurriculars while facing the impending potential of college.
Senior year is junior year on steroids. This first quarter has chewed me up and spit me out, grades are fine, but the pressure I feel as the future approaches is more stressful than any math test this school can throw at me. College applications and all that comes with them has proved to be a greater task than I could have imagined. The constant
questioning of my plans for the future makes the walls cave in and my heart race. I’m not even 18, how am I supposed to know what to do with the rest of my life and be able to make the decision to drop a quarter of a million dollars on four more years of an education that I’ve spent four years trying to get into?
Before Halloween I had already applied to multiple colleges and felt the euphoria of hitting submit and then the instant gut feeling of no turning back. The reality of what I’ve been working towards for years hit much faster than I ever could have anticipated and it’s terrifying. That is one thing I never knew would come to me in my senior year: fear of the unknown. It is a different form of fear than I have previously experienced, the anxiety over a test I haven’t prepared for pales in comparison to this uniquely senior feeling of having to face the rest of our lives before we are even officially adults.