Senior year. The year widely associated with freedom, where eager students engage in exciting activities as their high school journey slowly comes to a celebratory end. All eyes are on the seniors.
We have always been warned of the inevitable truth which is this: “High school goes by so fast”. Maybe your parents have said this to you before when they force you to go to a school dance when you would rather be spending your saturday night at home watching Netflix. This quote will not resonate with you unless you experience it firsthand, I can tell you that much.
At times I have scoffed at the notion of four years of education being “quick”. Especially towards the tail end of one specific school year where I had 5 finals in one week.
During freshman year, the idea of graduating was a foreign thought floating in the very back of our minds. Sophomore year is spent adjusting and starting to find your place. And suddenly, you are a junior hit hard with work and stress about your future. Senior year. It felt like it would never come. It’s almost like when you are in a dream that felt minutes long and don’t realize how much time has passed. When you wake up reality sets in. This is it.
Questions begin to arise in your mind of whether you lived out your senior year to the fullest. During this time seniors want to have fun after years of hard work before even more in college and beyond. This causes senses of purposeless in students which then turns into a bad case of senioritis, which unfortunately doesn’t come with a vaccine.
In a New York Times article, the whole notion of senioritis and its effect on students in the second semester was talked about. Especially when there is no reward or motivation students tend to feel like spending nights studying has no point anymore.
Lack of motivation can also come in the form of sports and extracurricular activities that 12th graders dedicate themselves to and have to follow through with their commitment.
Fellow seniors all feel differently about their situations which are majorly dependent on what they are involved in.
Senior Paige Ho balanced cross country, track and field, and soccer on top of academics in her last semester of high school. Maintaining a heavy schedule towards the end of senior year makes her feel like she just wants summer to be here already.
“Part of me wants to finish the season strong but another part of me is just really excited to get to summer,” said Ho.
Mid-Pacific homeroom teacher Keeley Cestare reflects on how the pandemic altered the class of 2021 and their experience with a “normal” year as well as the disengagement seen from many because of Zoom.
“Online students are so disconnected with their peers, and the energy was so different when people came back to campus,” said Cestare.
For the most part, the majority of the students are now back on campus as the graduation clock ticks with each second that elapses. Right now many are taking exams for IB and AP classes and trying to finish the year strong.
Cestare gives a piece of advice with anyone who is struggling with looking at the short term responsibilities and stress that high school comes along with and acknowledges how much of an exciting time we are in now.
“All the little things people are doing for the seniors just appreciate it now because it will stick with you for the rest of your life,” Cestare.
Now to answer the big question: Everyone’s experience is different. There isn’t some checklist telling students how to live out their last year of high school. What counts is the memories you leave behind big or small.
For me I treasure the memory of going to practice with my friends, and the moments where I forgot about my worries and just lived in the moment, and even the small victories when accomplishing a goal I made for myself.
The memories of the school environment, the rain in Manoa making the tough days a little cooler, those teachers who you know genuinely care about your success, and most of all, being proud of yourself.
It wasn’t easy. The seniors deserve to celebrate the journey they have had surrounded by the people who care about them most.
It gets tough, but remember to always see the silver lining. It will always be there if you look hard enough.