We've all heard the phrase, "Time flies when you're having fun." But I don't think people really understand how quickly your senior year comes and goes before your eyes. We're all so focused on finally being the top of the food chain and filling out college applications that we don't notice senior year slipping away.
Now that I'm about to enter my second semester as a college sophomore and have seen my younger brother graduate and heard about how some of my college friends survived their senior year of high school, I thought it'd be nice to give out some advice to current high school seniors.
1. Don't be afraid of goodbyes.
Throughout my senior year I avoided thinking about saying farewell to friends I saw every day. It scared me, knowing I had a limited amount of time to be with people I went to school with for all these years. The thought alone saddened me. When graduation and "All-Night Grad" came, I finally said goodbye to people I knew I wasn't going to see anytime soon, and I was surprised at how their reactions were. They all said they'd keep in touch and talked about wonderful high school memories we had together. So don't be afraid to part ways with people you've seen in class every day. You realize that a goodbye doesn't mean forever if you're saying it to someone who'll end up being a forever friend.
2. Where you choose to go to college isn't as important as you think.
We all hear about how amazing it is to go to Ivy league schools or other popular colleges. Chances are a lot of your high school friends got acceptances from huge universities that everyone would love to go to. But truth be told, the university or college that you end up attending doesn't have to be top-notch. If you're getting an education in a field that you love and are enjoying your college years, that's all that matters. Companies really just want job applicants to obtain a college degree; their focus isn't on what school you went to.
3. As tempting as it may be, try not to skip class.
Everyone experiences symptoms of "senioritis" -- the feeling seniors get where they skip class and don't do their work because they believe they are done with school and don't have to worry about it. However, it's important to still go to your classes. I understand it may be tempting on multiple occasions to just not go (we've all been there), but you're still required to go to class. Depending on the county you live in, there are a certain amount of classes / days a student is allowed to skip (excused or unexcused), and if you go over that amount, your high school is allowed to prohibit you from graduating. So do yourself a favor and just go to class.
4. Apply for scholarships and colleges early.
I know it's common sense, but it's always a good reminder. Research scholarships and colleges in the beginning of your senior year, and try to apply for scholarships and college as early as you can, so you don't have to worry about it towards the end of the third and fourth quarter when you have to worry about finals and school.
5. Your grades are important.
One of the main things that college admittance committees look at is your GPA and whether you challenged yourself in the classes you took in high school. But don't think that they won't check your grades from senior year -- that's the first thing they look at!
6. Develop friendships with your teachers.
Towards the end of your junior year to the beginning of senior year you will have to select around two or three teachers who know you enough to write you a recommendation letter. These teachers should know you academically and personally; enough to know your work efforts and what kind of person you are. So try to talk to your teachers. They're there to help you and they want to be your friend. Would you rather have a recommendation from a teacher who barely knows you outside of your grades or a teacher who knows you so well they'd fight for you to get into the college of your dreams?
7. Who you are in high school doesn't matter in college.
Whatever your "stereotype" in high school is (jock, cheerleader, nerd, popular, unpopular), I want you to know that in college no one really cares about that. College gives you the chance to start over and really find yourself. So if you don't really like your reputation in high school, I'm pleased to tell you that it doesn't travel with you to college.
8. Cherish your family.
You may be getting excited that you won't be around your family every day and get to be "free" when you go to college, but you'd be surprised how much you'll end up missing and calling your family when you're away from them. Especially since you won't be eating your parent's amazing home-cooked meals every night. So savor every day you have with them until freshman move-in day because you may end up missing them more than they miss you.
9. It's OK to not know what you want to do after high school.
Not everyone knows what major, career and college they want to pursue after high school, and that's OK. Everyone is on different paths of life. If you aren't sure about what college you want to go to after applying to a bunch of schools, or if you're still unsure about what your major is going to be, that's OK. You could go to community college and get a sense of what you really want to major in. Do more research on the colleges you applied to, or tour the campus if you don't know which one you want to attend. If you think you want to work the year after you graduate to save money or take a gap year, then go for it. People at every age go back to college every day. If you're not ready for college, then take a break and figure out what you really want to do in life.
10. Some high school friendships will fade and some won't.
Enjoy the time you have left with people you see regularly in the halls and hang out with in class because you won't see half of them after graduation. We all go in different directions after graduation. Some friendships will fade and may catch you off guard. The people you stay in touch with after high school and the people who you don't talk to will also surprise you, believe me. If you were to ask me who I was going to be friends with after high school during my own senior year of high school, I would have made a list of people who I no longer talk to and haven't talked to in a long time. So enjoy your time with your friends this year, and by the end of the year you'll have figured out who's worth your friendship and who isn't.
11. If you're not already, get involved.
Kind of self-explanatory. If you aren't involved in any clubs, sports or after-school activities, then I would highly suggest asking around and getting more involved. Colleges love seeing well-rounded students who know how to manage their time well with school and other activities. Doing so also allows you to meet new people and figure out what kinds of clubs and sports you actually enjoy.
12. Enjoy your last year of high school.
Senior year of high school is one of the best years of your life. No responsibilities, no worries (yet), you still live close to all of your friends and the whole school looks up to you. Have fun, but also, get ready for the next stage in your life.
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