As senior year is starting to come to a close, grad invites are being sent out, caps and gowns are being measured and ordered and college orientation dates are being set up. It’s hard to suppress the feeling of nostalgia that keeps creeping up on you. Between being excited for the next chapter of your life — whatever that might be — and being sad knowing you may never see some of the people you’ve been seeing every day ever again, this can be a very confusing time. Every graduating senior though is looking back and wishing they had done these things.
1. Applied for more scholarships
Although it’s everyday knowledge that college is expensive, I still cringe when I think about my first year tuition. I hate to even think it but my mom’s constant nagging of “Have you been applying for scholarships?” may have actually been beneficial. I mean there are people out there giving away free money! If only there was a scholarship for watching hours of Netflix while questioning every life decision you’ve made, am I right?
2. Bought a senior parking pass
If you went to a high school anything like the one I attended you have two options your senior year: buy a senior parking pass (hopefully early enough so that there are still some left) or walk at least four blocks every morning. Living in Minnesota — when the weather seems to only be decent once a year for about an hour — that four blocks can make or break your day. So it doesn’t surprise me that when I asked some of my classmates what they wish they had done their senior year, buying a senior parking pass was one of the most popular answers.
3. Go out more
The number one thing that I’ve heard people say they wish they had done their senior year was go out more. The saying is true “you’re only young once,” and your senior year is supposed to be filled with adventures with friends and nights you won’t be able to remember. No matter if you go out every weekend or are more comfortable staying home curled up on the couch watching Netflix, it’s inevitable that as senior year comes to a close you’ll wish you took all the opportunities given to you and then some to go out.
4. Stayed at that one party a little longer
Either the few times you’ve gone out or the few hundreds of times you’ve gone out, it always seems as if the most exciting things happen after you leave. The next morning you’re constantly trying to play catch-up as your friends recap the craziness that was the night before.
5. Spend more time with family
The sad fact is no matter how much we prepare ourselves for moving out next year, we’re bound to feel that bitter sting of loneliness. Knowing that some of us will be possibly hundreds of miles away from our family next year really makes me wish I would’ve taken my mom up on those offers to go to a movie with her on a Friday night.
6. Visited more college campuses
If you’re anything like me, you had one set college in your mind and once you got accepted that was it. I didn’t bother to look at any other colleges or visit any other colleges than just the one I had my heart set on. Now that I’m nearing the end of my senior year though — and I’m hearing about all of the diverse and far away colleges some of my classmates are going to — I can’t help but wonder if my decision was a good one.
7. Tried something new
Maybe it was a new sport, a new club or even a challenging class that you may have considered for a day and then never signed up. Unfortunately, now there won’t be another chance to sign up for these. At least I learned this lesson before college and will take full advantage of all of the extracurricular activities that will be offered to me there.
8. Participated more in school activities
That homecoming week when I thought I was too cool for pajama day or that time when I didn’t feel like going out to buy Hawaiian themed accessories for the basketball game are really coming back to haunt me. Those were the few times when it was completely okay, even encouraged, to look ridiculous and I completely took it for granted. Participating in fun school activities should’ve been a highlight of my high school career.
9. Taken easier classes
Being on the cusp of finals week, as well as receiving transcripts to send out for scholarships and colleges, it becomes quite apparent that many of the classes I’ve been stressing over this past year were completely unnecessary. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about challenging myself but your senior year is supposed to be filled with last-minute memories, not last-minute breakdowns before class.
10. Spent more time with your friends
When I think of leaving for college I think about how hard it’ll be to leave my family, but I rarely remember that the friends that I’ve made will also be leaving and could possibly be further away from me than my family is. With goodbyes in the very near future, I’m realizing how much I’ll miss these people and how much I wish I had spent more time with them.
11. Worked on developing better study habits
When you think about it, high school is like practice and college is the big game. If only I took advantage of this “practice time” when I could. What are Cornell Notes again? Oh, and planners, uh you write in those, right?
12. Have more fun
I realize this is sort of a broad point, but this is our last year without having the added stress of college finances, internships and other stresses that come with college. This is the last year we have to truly be a kid and let go for a whole weekend if we want. Though it’s important to get good grades, I wish I had found a way to balance this last year of high school and the last year of not having multiple responsibilities.
13. Thank the influential people in my life
I’m entitled to one sappy post, right? The one thing I ultimately wish I would’ve done my senior year is recognize and thank all of the people who have helped me get through my high school career. Whether it’s my mother, whose constant nagging ensured that I had all of my homework done in time, my sixth grade homeroom teacher, who would always compliment my writing or even my friends, who kept me sane through some of the worst times. Before you know it, it gets too late and you can’t thank these people for the role they had in making you the person you are.
Lead Image Credit: Garry Knight