Senior Year by the Month | Gabriella Patino

Senior Year by the Month

by Gabriella Patino

Senior year is, in my opinion, the most interesting year of high school. There’s no real way to prepare for the rollercoaster of emotions that comes along with this year, but I’ve put together this month-by-month guide to prepare you juniors and eager underclassmen for all that senior year has to offer.

The year begins with a high. Late August after returning from a busy summer of college essay writing and stressing is somewhat paused during the first week of school. The feeling kicks in that you are now the top dogs on campus, and there’s some comfort in that: watching the sea of freshmen scramble to find their new classes, giant backpacks in full swing, is nostalgic. As you carry around your binder, keys, and hydro, you walk to class slowly with your friends, not at all in a rush to end the conversations and head to first period.

Then comes September. This is when the FAFSA, FERPA, Brag Packet, and supplemental essays all come back to haunt you when you go to the senior presentation. Hopefully, you spent your summer preparing your common app and thinking about teachers to write your letters of rec, because if not, this will be a very pressing month. The deadlines that once felt so far away are suddenly right in front of you and the final crunch to apply for those early action schools is real. And as if the college application process wasn’t hard enough, all the fall APs you’re regretting signing up for are getting to be quite annoying…

October flies by with the last minute standardized testing and prep for midterms. Halloween is nearing now, and that senior year mentality kicks in, convincing you that it’s O.K. to blow off studying to hang out with your friends. Surprisingly, this accumulation of exhaustion and stress makes for a quick month.

November means the start of the holidays, which means no school, which means more time for college apps. Though Thanksgiving is meant for stuffing yourself and watching football, it ends up being one of those meals where your extended family won’t stop talking about where you’re applying to college. The list of your schools becomes a bit of a monologue that you’ve rehearsed a million times with your parents, counselors, or nosy strangers that see all your college pamphlets…

December comes around, and the only thing on your wish list for the holidays is an acceptance. For those early action/decision students, December is a rough month filled with anxiety and absolutely brutal breath-holding. I’d rather take fifty ACTs than go through that waiting again. As soon as mid-December rolls around, you better bring a portable charger with you to school because you’ll be refreshing your email about twenty times per minute. Then when that status update finally comes, a wave of relief flows over you and all that waiting was worth it. Even if it wasn’t the outcome you were hoping for, it’s much better to know than to wonder. And of course New Year’s Eve comes and goes and you’ll probably be finishing your apps for that famous January 1st deadline.

January is an exciting month because most of the college deadlines have passed. This also means, however, that senioritis starts taking over. Suddenly, the smallest homework assignment seems like it’ll take all your energy.

February continues the bitter sweetness of senioritis. Of course the free time to hang out with your friends and relax a little is much deserved, but you wonder how you’ll ever find your motivation again in college…

March is when the anxiety of college creeps back again. Of course senior’d out is a nice distraction but also pins friends against each other. Once colleges start responding, we start celebrating and spending all our money on college gear...

Which brings us to the present. I can’t wait for what the rest of senior year has to offer. These last months with all the amazing Ravens I’ve met are going to be some of the best. No matter what grade you’re in, treat each year like it’s your last. High school flies by, so take advantage of all the amazing opportunities while you can!

image: http://www.ans.edu.ni/newspaper/2017/02/06/getting-ready-for-senior-year/