Handling High School

Everyone goes through high school wanting his or her senior year to come as soon as possible. The thought of being the top-dogs in school, the oldest, and having seniority over everyone else can be overwhelmingly exciting, but it seems like it will take forever to get there. That’s not the truth though. Your time in high school goes by in the blink of an eye, and it can be extremely stressful, chaotic, and scary. Not to mention, senior slide is real, and you’ll most likely find yourself sliding down it before the end of the year. Here’s some advice from a few 2017 seniors to get you through high school.

When most people think of their last year in high school, they think of parties, prom, graduation, and finally being free. Though these are great aspects of senior year, there are so many others that aren’t so great. One of the first tasks thrown at a senior is the dreaded college essay and application process. Writing 650 words or less about yourself seems like an easy assignment, right? Wrong, it can be extremely challenging. Thinking of a good topic to write about, something not too personal but not too cliché, can be very tough, but we promise, once you get started, the sentences will just flow right out. Though it may seem like an intimidating task, don’t stress about it. This essay is just an opportunity for the colleges to hear your voice. One major piece of advice on this, do not save your essay until the last minute. Allow yourself plenty of time to review, read, and edit with a teacher, parent, or friend. This will make the process go a lot more smooth. Most people tell you that this personal essay is what could make or break your acceptance into a college, but that is not true.  The Common App, which is a useful online tool, will help you create one application that you can send to numerous schools. This website will quickly become your best friend. It is so much better than having to fill out a bunch of separate applications, and makes the whole process so much smoother. Before you know it your applications will be done, as well as your essay, and it will feel like a huge weight is lifted off of your shoulders.

The part that comes after this will bring a bit more stress and anxiety than the application process did. Waiting for your acceptance or rejection letters will make each day go by like molasses, especially when you know the exact date the decision will be out. Constantly checking the mailbox and your email can be daunting; however, the anticipation of your acceptance/rejection letter can be exciting. IHS senior, Leah Harmon, says it’s “super exciting”, but it has also “been really stressful.” Once you receive your acceptance letter, it’s “only going to get easier and more fun from there on out.”  The best feeling is receiving a big envelope with your name on it. “Congratulations” written across a large envelope, means you’ve been accepted. Receive a small sized envelope, and that could mean one of two things: deferral or rejection.  Rejection is one of the worst feelings, especially, when it comes from the school you wanted to spend the next four years at, but it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes rejection is best; now you’ll have one less tough decision to make. After the application process and hearing back from colleges, the school year seems to fly by. Second semester, along with all it’s qualities, starts approaching faster than anticipated.

As nice as slacking off and not really do your work second semester sounds, it cannot be done. Colleges do still see senior grades, and many students will not know where they are going until late spring. For example, if a student is deferred, they have to prove themselves to the school by putting in hard-work and getting their grades up. It’s not always easy to maintain your good grades senior year. Many seniors will start slacking in their work once they realize they are almost done with school. This term is known as “senioritis”, or the “senior slide.” Senioritis is defined as the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their senior year. The senior slide usually hits students pretty hard. It can affect seniors in different ways; some seniors take a hit in their A.P. classes, elective classes, and/or virtual high school classes; some aren’t affected at all. When asked whether or not senioritis has plagued her yet, Leah, who is a very diligent student, said, “I wouldn’t say so in my regular classes because we haven’t even had that many assignments so far, but in my VHS class it’s definitely hard to stay focused, and I haven’t been putting in the same effort I did first semester.” Mrs. Whitman, a math teacher at IHS, said, “grades have been pretty steady throughout the year, but motivation has definitely gone down.” Though grades don’t always deteriorate, motivation and work ethics definitely tend to decline. A small slip in grades during the second semester isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s still important to try your best and avoid failing classes, even if you have been accepted into college.

Though academics are crucial, so is having fun. Throughout your high school years, it is easy to get caught up in drama, activities, social events, and school work.  Go to as many school events as possible, even if that means spending your Friday night at a football game or cheering on the basketball team in the sweaty gym. Go to prom and do not let it stress you out. If you don’t have a date, go with a friend; it’s just as fun. Also, try borrowing a dress if you don’t feel like spending the money on a new one! Spirit week will be one of the best school weeks of the year, so enjoy it, but don’t over think it. These events are about having fun, not about who you take pictures with, or what your outfit looks like. Though you should have fun and make the most of your time in high school, still take academics seriously. One piece of advice for underclassmen from Mrs. Whitman is to, “get good grades.” She says, “It is extremely important as an underclassmen, and it allows you to have more wiggle room as a an upperclassmen.” Doing well in school can contribute to great memories of your high school career. The best thing you can do is take in every moment and create everlasting memories because the time flies by faster than you could ever imagine.

As exciting as the future may be, do not wish it away. Become close with your teachers and classmates, and spend as much time as possible with your friends and family. Senior year and graduation come faster than anyone can ever expect. Take this advice and use it to the best of your ability. One final piece of advice: the time you have in high school is short, so make the most of it. Being a senior does indeed take a lot of hard work, but the work is worth it.