Senior year, the period of time that many consider to be the last year of childhood, and that others see as the first year of adulthood. As a high school student, going into this last year of general education can be a very exciting step. You become the top dog of the school, the biggest and the best on the sport fields and in the classrooms. You become the idol of the underclassmen. Everyone seems to be saying that "this year is the best year you will ever have!" and "you won't ever have as much fun as you do during senior year!"
The reality for many seniors, however, is typically not so exciting.
The reality of this situation is that senior year is more often an incredibly stressful, trying time for every student. There is the process of looking at colleges, deciding on a major, applying for colleges and scholarships, maintaining grades and extracurricular activities and possibly even working part time to help fund this future education. With all of this going on, how is a student supposed to be having the time of their life? Where is the time to party when any and all free moments are spent at practices, at work, on schoolwork or asleep?
The myth of "The Best Year of Your Life" during senior year seems to come from an idealized, unrealistic presentation of school in movies, shows and other forms of media. Kids that study and work throughout their senior year aren't as entertaining as kids that attend raging parties or have time to hang out with friends every day after class. So, naturally, the entertainment industry tends to only show the aspects of the senior year that it has deemed to be exciting and captivating, and to leave out all the other parts that are the reality for most students. From a very young age, we have all seen the senior year of high school as being filled with parties, dances, shopping, championships, friends and so much more. We have not seen the work, the drama, the stress and the overall lack of sleep. Basically, students are raised with the image of an idealized senior year, one which cuts out all the aspects of reality which are necessary for continuing their education beyond high school.
There are good moments, of course. Many students can and do have a great time during their senior year. However, it is important to remember that you are not a failure just because you did not love your senior year. There are a lot of ups and downs that can occur, a lot of bad situations, a lot of incredibly stressful events. Senior year is hard, okay? It is hard for many people. Some students struggle with it more, and some students don't seem to struggle with it all. The experience of every single senior is individual and cannot be compared to each other or what is seen in media. Whether or not you look back on that time in your life depends on a great many individual factors, so try not to compare yourself to anyone else. There can be things you look back on with happiness, and there can be things you look back on with sadness. Both are entirely valid and understandable.
Senior year is certainly an important period of time in the life of every student, and therefore should be treated as such. It does not need to be the most exciting or fun period of time, nor does it need to be the hardest and most stressful period of time. There are still many, many years left after that one year of high school, so try not to beat yourself up if you didn't have the best year of your life. You've got a long life left to live and frankly, having the best one occur at such a young age would make for a pretty boring future. Live it up out there, seniors, and keep living in the future.
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