Senior Stress

Scarlett Lestina, Managing Editor

After the final bell of junior year, a wave of relief washed over me as I assumed the hardest year of my high school career was finally over. All the late nights of studying physics, getting ready for the endless amounts of retakes, and going over my APUSH vocabulary finally concluded, leaving me with the excitement of senior year. I was able to relish in all of the joy my accomplishments thus far had brought, culminating into one last year before I’m off to college. However, I forgot about one thing: the greatly underestimated stress and pressure of senior year, especially the first semester. 

While the main topic of conversation in the halls the first couple of weeks of school was all about college applications and how far along into the essays everyone was, I had barely even read the essay prompts that would determine where I’m going to spend my next four-plus years. After I attended a mandatory college workshop, the new College and Career Coordinator, Cody Dailey, said something that stuck with me: “applying for college is like taking another class.”

Last year was difficult, yes, but there is something about senior year that just takes the beast of junior year and amps it up a whole other level. This year I’m taking a majority of difficult courses that require lots of work outside of school. 

Coursework, tests, and applying to colleges take up a large sum of time, and while it seems like it shouldn’t take this much effort, I want to make sure I put my best foot forward because when attending a school as big as LT, you have to make sure you stand out. I didn’t realize how competitive applying to college was until I looked at the scattergrams on Naviance. The likelihood of me getting into a prestigious school when there is always someone better out there is scary to think about. Let alone someone from LT applying to the same distinguished university–you have to make sure your application is perfectly filled out.

On top of all the academics in my life, I also run varsity cross country and track which requires me to run six days a week except for two weeks after each season. The unknown of college athletics is worrisome, as I need to decide on whether or not I’m going to run in college, but I’m not fully decided yet. This causes self-induced pressure as the time is ticking and it never stops. 

Maintaining a good GPA, running well, writing countless essays, occasionally working, as well as being an officer of multiple clubs, has made it hard to find a balance where I can get all my work done and still have time to relax. I also have to stay on top of my goals and not let senioritis or lack of motivation get the best of me and inhibit what I can accomplish.

Now, I’m not trying to give up one of my passions to have an easier time, but I found a false sense of relaxation coming into senior year. Contrary to what I thought, most colleges do see second-semester transcripts and do not want to see students slacking in the second half of the year. While this may add some pressure to maintaining a packed schedule, I know now that I have a long road ahead of me and hopefully, it will pay off once May rolls around. Maybe I can finally relax before this vicious cycle starts again, only this time, in a new environment.