Senior year is not as easy as it seems

During the first semester, many seniors are buried under the pressure of college applications or their plans after high school, while also facing the stresses of their extracurriculars. In my case, and many others, we also have to keep our grades as perfect as they can be for the handful of elite colleges that are interested in seeing them.

I am a full International Baccalaureate (IB) student that is also on the Panther Prowler which, combined, has a rigorous workload. I am also the president of the Literary Magazine club and participate in multiple other clubs and activities. I am still expected to keep my grades near perfect, regardless of whether or not the pressure is off. Newbury Park has a significant group of senior year students in one or more IB classes that require a significant essay or some other giant project. Senior year, especially the first semester, is not to be taken lightly. I understand that I likely have more academic worries than your average high schooler, but I still have yet to meet anyone who is breezing through the final year. I still have hope for the second semester, but as of right now, my hopes are very low. May is testing month, and as a full IB student I will be out testing almost every day, so leading up to May the pressure is going to build.

Currently, I am in my second semester of my senior year, and I can confidently say that the “senior year is easy” belief is wrong. I understand where the statement is coming from. It’s coming from the idea of surpassing the dreaded “junior year” and also from the belief that when a student commits to their future, they can “check out.” I suppose it is true to a certain degree, although with most college decisions not being out, I don’t have that luxury yet.

Junior year is rough, to say the least. The amount of work increases significantly and expectations get higher, and by the time the year is finally over, it seems that nothing could be worse, and honestly, nothing is worse. However, don’t fall for the stigma that any year of high school is easy. The last year might be easier, depending on your classes, and the pressure might lighten as the second semester progresses, but don’t walk in as blindly as I did. Frankly, I was ready to check out and hold myself to the expectation of showing up and doing homework, but I quickly realized that I wouldn’t make it through that way.

Throughout high school, I have discovered the danger of thinking anything will be easy. Take the classes you’re interested in and participate in clubs that you feel are important to you, but don’t walk in with the expectation that it will be easy. It’s not easy to adjust. It might get easier, in fact, it probably will get easier over time, but don’t concern yourself with what would make senior year (or at least the first semester) easy. It simply isn’t.