Senior Year: It’s Not What You think

If one more junior comes up to me and says, “You’re so lucky to be a senior,” I will straight-up punch him or her in the face.

As someone who has been through the misery of junior year, I know it sucks, but take comfort in knowing that the first semester of senior year is much, much worse.

We grow up thinking that senior year will be the best of our lives, the year that we can fill our schedules with culinary and darkroom and all the frees we can rally, the year that we don’t have a care in the world and can chuckle nonchalantly at the silly underclassmen.

I’m here to destroy your dreams.

It’s not so simple.

First of all, grades still matter. Every college is bombarding us with the importance of “rigorous course loads.” We’re not just sitting around and playing Slime Soccer in the library. We’re in the library doing more coursework than any underclassmen brain can possibly imagine.

I know a lot of juniors will read this and be extremely indignant at my ignorance of their research paper woes and first ever APs. And that’s fine. Believe me, I’ve been there.

But here’s the catch. You can be the best student in the world. But as far as senior year goes, no matter how much schoolwork you get done, there is always something left to do.

Two words: college applications.

You finish your college essay. Great! Now fill out the common App. Once that is done, the number of forms you owe to guidance could suffocate a small dog. What’s next? Supplements on supplements on supplements.

Let me give you  some samples:

(1) “Susan Sontag, AB ’51, wrote that ‘Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.’  Write about an issue or a situation in which you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend.”

(2) “What outrages you? What are you doing about it? Think lo cally.”

(3) “Sports, science, and society are filled with rules, theories, and laws like the Ninth Commandment, PV=nRT, Occam’s Razor, and The Law of Diminishing Returns. Three strikes and you’re out. I before E except after C. Warm air rises. Pick one and explain its significance to you.”

(4) “So, where’s Waldo really?”

This isn’t even to mention the stress that comes along with the biggest decision of your life. We have no idea where we’re going to be this time next year, and it’s scary.

True, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with being a senior. The sweatshirts, the section, the slogans, it’s all very glamorous. All of a sudden waiting in the sandwich line is for lesser humans, and freshmen cower in your presence (not really, but we like to think so).

Senior year is built up so much that it almost has to be at least a little good. We’ve worked for three years to get here, and we deserve a little recognition. The problem is that after the first few days, we no longer care about recognition from our younger peers. We want recognition from universities.

So we bury our heads in Calculus textbooks and use bottomless cups of coffee as our all-nighter fuel.

Hopefully, the promise of senior year will unfold in the form of second semester. But until then, tread carefully while around us. You never know when someone’s close to a breaking point.

If you thought this was a rant, wait until you come across someone who’s had even less sleep than me- and I guarantee they’re out there.

It’s one o’clock in the morning right now. I consider that early.