10 Things I Wish I Knew As A High School Senior

10 Things I Wish I Knew As A High School Senior

I'm simply passing down the keys to the kingdom.

Despite the ongoing stress of college applications, maintaining a social life, and retaining a sturdy GPA, senior year was easily one of the greatest years of my life. Now, having experienced high school from the first day of school to receiving my diploma at graduation, I can only hope to offer meaningful advice that I hope will help the "new kids" who are now entitled to my parking spot.

1. Be mindful of every single day.

I know I sound like a grandma on a rocking chair when I say, "Appreciate every day", but trust me, you will naturally sink into a routine once September is over. Then, multiple days will jumble into one instead of being remembered individually. And whether you've already graduated or are eighty years old, you'll thank yourself for making an effort to remember your high school days.

For this, I recommend using a notebook to write in any format five things that happened during your day--sad, glad, comical, even stressful moments of that day. It'll take five minutes before going to sleep, and you will appreciate it once you're an alumni.

2. Do not look for what you don't have.

For this, I am specifically referring to relationships. If you do not already have a steady significant other, do not desperately seek one out because you simply want to "be with someone". Trust me, this one is hard to stick with, especially when your "GNOs" turn into a boyfriend scientific analysis with which you have nothing to contribute to. Good people will come into your life when you least expect it.

Not being in a relationship will allow yourself to truly assemble your priorities, especially when deciding a college or university, Also, you do not have to stress over the infamous "Are we staying together or splitting before college?" debacle.

3. Be nice to everyone, especially underclassmen.

I really should not have to explain why you should act like a decent human being to another human being. It's 2017, treat people with respect. That freshman walking like a slug in the halls could possibly be your boss one day.

4. Say "yes".

Senior year quite possibly contains the most awesome school trips ever. For my high school, all five-hundred of us traveled to Walt Disney World. For others, there are ski trips and of course, prom.

While these are amazing trips, senior year also has great leadership opportunities and service projects you should get involved in. If you're ever asked to attend a service project or be a leader of a club or activity you love, say yes. It is not only a great thing to mention on your college applications but also a rewarding experience that enables you to meet such amazing people and become close with some teachers too.

5. Power through the "College" talk.

Nothing's worse than religion or politics at the dinner table? Try asking a high school senior that question on Thanksgiving, and they'll quickly assure you otherwise. We all know extended family dinners can be awkward, especially when you're persistently asked what your college aspirations and future plans are. So, before you sit at that dinner table, remember that it's okay to say "I don't know" because you truly do not know. And please note, most people don't know either.

After that, continue to smile and change the conversation as subtle as possible. Do not in any way lose your temp er or get frustrated, it'll make the rest of the evening five hundred times worse. So power through, and save your breakdown for the car ride home if necessary.

6. Go to a "Senior Night".

Even if you aren't on a sports team, attend a "Senior Night" or any "last home game" for any sports team, or try to attend your last high school homecoming. Confidently saying you want to go will influence some of your friends who were iffy from the start, and eventually a group will surround you, making the experience more enjoyable.

So, deck out in your school colors, make signs, paint your face, and most importantly show your support.

7. Never be afraid to say "Hi".

By senior year, people change. The friends you declared your "ride or die" squad during freshman year have most likely gone their separate ways with different groups. And while that's normal, you should never feel embarrassed or awkward about the friendship you once had. So, whenever you pass them by in the hallway, a simple "hi" can go a long way. It shows how high school has enabled you to mature and will definitely ease any awkward tension between old friends.

8. Do not get "I hate you, high school" syndrome.

Please do not be that person who continuously rants on their finsta about how they "can't wait to be done with this school and everyone in it", especially in October. High school isn't over yet, and most people won't converse with you if you claim to hate everyone. No one likes a Scrooge.

9. Find your "go-to" teacher.

Honestly, senior year is a rollercoaster of emotions. From college applications, acceptance/rejections, and your final college decision to inevitable drama and the "last time" for anything, there will be tears. You might be the next Niagara Falls, but everyone understands you on some level.

First, find a teacher you can trust. Someone you admire, whether you've experienced them in a classroom environment, as a coach, a guidance counselor, or even an adult who supervises a club or organizes events. This teacher will be your "go-to", and their office will become your new therapy center where tissue boxes and arms are always open.

The biggest advantage to this is that by the time you receive your diploma, you are no longer a student. So, your "go-to" teacher transforms into your friend, and this friendship will always welcome you with open arms whenever you come home.

10. Break stereotypes; make new friends.

By senior year, most people have abandoned the general stereotypes surrounding high school and its students. So, start a conversation with that football player in your art class. Or talk to the track kids who sit at the adjacent lunch table. Be comfortable to ask the cheerleader what your assignments are.

There are two consequences to this approach:

One, you will have a relationship based solely off of "What was the homework?" conversations which will turn into discussions based on tests, papers, and of course, what you think about your teacher.

Two, you've made a friend, a friend you've grown somewhat close to in such a short time span that it'll leave you amazed whenever you think of it. When you think about this type of friendship, you'll simply wish you knew them four years ago and simply had more time to spend together.

Class of 2018, I truly wish you the most exhilarating senior year with amazing opportunities, friends, and family surrounding you. Take care of my parking spot.


A High School Alumna (Class of 2017)

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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Life Of A Science/Health Major As Told By The Cast Of "Grey's Anatomy"

Study. Mental breakdown. Repeat

The science/health major is easily one of the hardest majors out there (don’t get offended math majors, we know yours is hard too.) Science/health majors include biology, pre-med biochemistry, chemistry, physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, zoology, nutrition science, optometry, and etc. I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty proud to be amongst these majors at my university. Most of us watch Grey's Anatomy religiously (as does America), so I wanted to express our problems and the suffering we go through with the wise words of the cast of Grey's Anatomy.

1. When I looked at the syllabus and immediately felt like

2. We do not have syllabus week. We get to chapter 1 the first day after discussing the syllabus for 15 minutes. So when friends rejoice due to their chapter 1 beginning next week, I’m just like:

See Also: Finals Week As Told By Grey's Anatomy

3. When someone says they think that being a science/health major is easy.

4. When you have 3 exams, 4 quizzes, two lab reports, and 6 assignments in one week.

5. What it feels like when you study for days and you end up failing the exam

6. When you ask your professor what to study for the exam and they say “the book.”

7. When you and your friends get an A on the exam

8. When you don’t have enough time to eat with all the studying you're doing

9. The one true way to compliment a science major

10. After giving up your soul to finals week and still not getting the grade you wanted

11. Will there be a curve?

12. When the lab instructor explains the procedure and you still don't understand

13. After studying for 10 hours

14. Because we all deserve a drink (and shots) sometimes.

No matter the struggles we go through, deep (deeeeep) down we truly love what we do and will do once we graduate. We love Science, and can't wait to actually use this information in the future to help people! To those applying for med school, optometry school, pharmacy school, nursing school, or grad school etc, GO KICK BUTT!

Anything I missed? Have something to say? Sign up to join the Odyssey community at Saint Mary's University here and have your voice heard.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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An Open Letter To Professors Who Assign Group Work

In the classroom, there is NO strength in numbers.


There is something to be said about the workings of a well-oiled machine. The swift cohesion of pieces working together to create a masterful finished product. Each individual part bringing its own unique gifts and interesting character together to create an impeccable arrangement of academic collaboration. It is absolutely awe-inspiring that professors dream of this sort of outcome from the random chunk of students that they forced together. So sorry to break it to you, professors, but the group project you assign in your class is not going to work like this. The final product will not be a meticulously crafted work of art. It is going to turn into a flaming disaster as your bitter students shamefully share the work they have thrown together.

Group projects are the bane of my, and most students', existence. You assign them in large lecture halls, small discussion courses, and every class in between. Most of the time you assemble the members of each group yourself, creating the saddest excuse for a team to ever grace the planet. This leaves the students no choice as to who they will be working with, which essentially makes the grade out of the individual's hand because they have no power over which random stranger will be tossed into their group. In the rare occasion that you do not assign the groups yourself, you leave the fear-stricken students to frantically gather their own clusters of people. This is just as bad because in this case students typically choose groups based on geographical location in the classroom, their seats that they chose on the first day of class and never got around to relocating.

Regardless of how they were gathered, every group project will introduce your students to a dynamic range of personalities. There is the one super intense leader that thinks this project grade is the single most important moment of their entire life, and if everyone does not commit their full selves to it they will actually burn the school to the ground. Conversely, there is the lazy, weak link; who is consistently dropping the ball on the group's shared research document and honestly none of the other group members even know what this person looks like because they skip class so ridiculously much. There is the one person who works every second of every day and can never fit your group meeting into their schedule because their nannying job is so important (this is actually a subtweet at me, my apologies to all of my past group members, I just have a really busy schedule, okay). Please, do not subject your students' grades to depend on the work of these insane classmates. A student's grade should reflect their own, individual work, group projects skew and make that impossible.

I understand that you mean well by assigning these projects. You hope to teach us how to work well with others, a valuable communicative asset in the real world. However, in the real world, there are standards for hiring at a company and if a worker does not perform well they will be fired. There are no standards for getting into my psychology class, any student with a laptop and a break in their schedule on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is welcome to join the class. There are no standards for performance either. If a student does not perform well in a group project their grade will plummet, which to my surprise does not greatly bother as many students as I thought, as does every other member of the group's grade. So unfair, so unparallel to the real world. Stop comparing your English 101 class to the real world.

Please professors, just stop with the group projects. I will happily write all of the papers, study all of the lectures, and even read all of the chapters in my textbook. Just don't make me create another Google Slides presentation with a bunch of strangers again.

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