The senior year is full of stress, and now that seniors are experiencing their final days of high school, many students look back at what makes being a senior so tough.
One of the most stressful times for high school seniors is during the college application process. They are constantly asked potentially life-altering questions such as, “What college do you want to go to? What will you major in? What will you do after college?” Seniors experience massive amounts of pressure to perform on exams and complete their post-high school plans. Finances, college admissions, fear of rejection, and many other anxieties can contribute to senior stress.
Most of the stress seniors are experiencing arises from students’ future plans. Having to decide the specifics of life past high school can be overwhelming. There are lots of forms to fill out, applications to be completed, and the never-ending search for the money to pay for all those future plans. Senior Haddie Daner experienced the college application process and all the pressure that comes with it. She applied to California State Universities, which do not require personal essays or teacher recommendations, but do require standardized tests. To her, the tests were the hardest because they are timed. She also mentioned that the AHS class of 2019 “was a bit competitive” in terms of the schools that students applied to, such as the Ivy Leagues and University of California (UC) schools. “However, everyone is friendly and happy about the schools they’ve decided they’re going to,” she concluded brightly. “I’m super excited to start this new chapter in my life,” she said, citing her opportunities to meet new people and taking classes for her major at Sonoma State University as what she most looks forward to. “I’m also looking forward to being somewhere new and adapting to a whole different environment,” she said.
For senior Claire Livengood, applying for college was “stressful because of all of the factors that contribute to the decision.” According to Livengood, “There has to be a balance between reaching for a great college and ensuring that you get into school.” Program, location, and financial aid were the main factors for her college decisions. “As for leaving home, I have had a lot of older siblings and friends in college, so I have a good idea what it'll be like to be separate from them,” she said. Livengood, one of AHS’s star distance runners, will be running for UC Irvine in the fall.
Regarding the pressure that stems from senior year, Drew Daner (sister of Haddie Daner) agreed that the stress accumulates. She had to keep track of various essays and deadlines, and ask for teacher recommendations. “It is nerve-wracking when you find out if you're accepted or not,” she said, but she advises students to set small goals for themselves. Drew Daner researched online for essay tips and began writing her rough drafts at the end of July last year. “It definitely put a lot more stress on me over the summer,” she said, “though that stress was lifted off my shoulders when I turned everything in before my deadlines.”
Drew Daner’s accumulated stress since July paid off when she received her college acceptances. She will be attending the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the fall. “I'm going to miss home for sure,” she said, “but [I] plan to come back with fun stories to tell and to keep passing on good advice to others.”
These AHS seniors have all undergone their own versions of the stressful college application process, but they are also all looking forward to new and exciting experiences at their respective colleges. Senior year should be a time to enjoy the last stretch of high school and look forward to new adventures in college or elsewhere. How seniors approach their last year and the stresses that come with it shapes the culmination of their high school experiences.