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Senior Year Advice From an Actual Senior

By: Josiah Cook

Even though the November 1st deadline to apply to colleges has passed, the work is far from over for stressed out seniors who don’t get nearly enough sleep. Unfortunately, these students in their final year of high school are often burnt out, unmotivated, and an inch away from losing their marbles at any given time. There’s a name for this condition: senioritis, and it has its own wikipedia page, so it’s practically a syndrome that can be diagnosed by local healthcare providers!

Even though senioritis may not be an actual medical condition treatable by the lovely people over at Central Dupage Hospital, it’s still an issue that college-bound teens have to deal with. The good news is that seniors don’t have to stress about finding quality information relating to ways they can go about working their hardest. This article will give plenty of information on how students can stay motivated to succeed during the final stretch of their high school career.

The first thing to mention is the obvious importance of continuing to do schoolwork. Even though some seniors may have already been accepted to college, schools can still change their mind if the student’s grades don’t remain consistent. This isn’t something that should scare seniors though, because if they put in the time and effort and maintain a solid GPA, chances are they will get into a fairly decent school.

All things considered, if seniors don’t get into any of the Ivy League Schools that they applied to, got rejected from the college of their dreams, or just didn’t get the scholarships and financial aid they hoped for, they should realize that it doesn’t mean that they have failed miserably as a person or are not talented. The college admissions process is complex and no one truly understands what goes on, so all seniors can do is put their best effort in actually attempting to sleep. I know it may be hard considering extracurricular activities and intense courseloads, but every student should be getting at least 6 hours of sleep (that’s midnight to 6 am- very achievable). Students should gain an understanding of themselves and when they can and cannot focus, and if they aren’t focusing properly, the best thing to do would be to go to bed for the night and wake up early the next day to finish homework

If students are lacking motivation, getting involved in the community or at school is also a wonderful idea for students so that they actually have a reason to care about going to school if they’re disinterested in anything else. Afraid it’s too late to join an activity? The honest answer is that clubs at WNHS still need people to join them and care about them even if it is only for the second semester of senior year. Better late than never! Additionally, if students have a subject or topic that they intend to major in, they should consider doing more independent work in that field outside of school, even if it is just research. Students sometimes feel that learning only happens in the classroom, but that is certainly not true and they can continue their education as they choose elsewhere. Every senior should strive to have some work/internship experience, but that does not mean that the work they do has to be mundane. A quick google search of “summer internships for ______ majors in illinois” can do can lead to thousands of results in seconds.

More on the self-care side, students taking care of their mental wellness is incredibly beneficial due to the significant prevalence of mental health issues in teens, and especially for seniors who are under intense pressure from themselves and others to succeed. Although it has been emphasized over and over again, mental health truly matters and taking care of one’s self is crucial for overall well being.

There are a myriad of free mindfulness resources on the internet, such as BetterHelp, Headspace, and Calm (although those do require a subscription.) If money is an issue, there are hundreds of thousands of mindfulness videos to follow along with that are there for student’s use at whatever time, at no cost to them. The academic community places so much emphasis on going to a 4-year university immediately after high school because they want students to succeed, but unfortunately different alternatives to college are often overlooked. Taking a gap year to earn money for college is always an option, as is going to a vocational school, serving in the Armed Forces, or simply getting a job after high school. If college doesn’t seem like the right fit for a student, other options can be arranged. The key here is to not stress and to continue the hard work you’ve put in throughout high school.

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