“We worked for four years”

Recently I’ve heard seniors utter the phrase “we worked for four years” to reference their right to attend senior activities and wear the sweatshirt. A sophomore has been harassed on social media for wearing her boyfriend’s senior sweatshirt, and a non-Panther was harassed for attending the Senior Sunrise (which was poorly attended by Panthers). I have to ask myself, is this what we worked for? To wear a sweatshirt and have the power to harass others?

As I do every morning, I walked up to my friends outside to talk to them before class started. Since it was a particularly cold morning, the non-senior was wearing her boyfriend’s senior sweatshirt. 

To me, this was an adorable gesture to keep her warm, but the senior elitists did not think the same way. The underclassman who wore the senior sweatshirt was anonymously heckled on social media because the seniors “worked for four years” to wear that jacket. 

Tragedy also struck for the seniors when a student from another school attended the senior sunrise. The crying could be heard from anywhere on the football bleachers as they confronted the non-Panther, also using the ridiculous sentiment that the NPHS seniors “worked for four years” to watch the sunrise together.

As a senior, I understand that there are certain traditions that seem important. The last year of high school is when students start to get sentimental, and this is why they act out on people who are “messing with the tradition” of Senior activities. It is a sensitive time for the class of 2020. However, I don’t agree with the vilification of all non-Panther Seniors.

The road to superiority starts junior year of high school. To those who have not experienced junior year, it comes with a high risk of cockiness because you are not at the bottom of the high school hierarchy anymore. When I began my junior year, I noticed that some younger students were intimidated by me. I will fully admit that seeing how uncomfortable they were made me glad that I had already spent two years in high school. It made me grateful for not only my level of comfort, but also my status as an upperclassman. 

If junior year gets in your head, then senior year will be even worse. On top of the previously explained rise of sentimentality among seniors, they also know they are at the top of the high school food chain, and some act accordingly. When cockiness and nostalgia mix, it becomes entitlement, which in turn causes unreasonably aggressive behavior. 

Seniors, I get it. I understand it is a crazy time in our lives not knowing exactly what to expect after our imminent departure, and we want control of something. But please just take a step back and realize that the significance of senior year is not found from a sweatshirt or a sunrise. Rather, it is found through the time you spend with the people you care about and making memories before childhood vanishes before your eyes. For the sake of Nice People High School, don’t be unkind to people due to your senior stress.

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