Stressed Seniors


Maybe it’s the scholarship applications, the ticking clock, or pressuring parents, but senior year is stressful to the max for almost all of us. Even though now we think we know it all, so many changes are to come, and everyone’s moods are showing it.

When I was a sophomore I toured the University of Missouri at Columbia and I had my mind made up. I knew I would be a tiger. However, I am of the minority in the sense that I had a plan for college that young. Most highschoolers aren’t like that, and that’s okay. 

At ESHS, college prep is instilled since the very beginning of freshman year. College is always talked about as something far in the future to think about planning. As many teens hear about, high school flies by. One moment college is in the far future, and the next second it’s senior year and applications. Stress piles fast. 

Even though I knew exactly where I was headed, senior year is still brutal. No one talks about how many scholarship applications there are, the letters of recommendations, or all of the college preference forms there are to fill out. 

It seems as if almost every month there is something weighing on my shoulders to complete, and it just so happens that January is arguably the worst of all.

Not only does January mean the start of the last semester, but all of the Elkhorn Foundation scholarships are due as well. For most of us seniors, these scholarships are great ways to rack up more cash for school, but no one warns for how time consuming the variety of essay prompts take. As of now, I have a list of over 14 different essay prompts that are due by the end of the month. These dates come up quick.

With these scholarship dates comes preference forms from each school as well. Whether its housing, dining, or just applying, there are so many deadlines to keep up on that can load on and become overwhelming. 

This past week I just found my suitemates via Facebook, and the deadline is February 1st. There is always a time crunch. Senior year is about being on top of everything and just trying not to over stress. I use the word trying lightly.

Reflecting so far over the past several months of my last year in high school, one thing has become very clear: the stress brings out monsters. Although it may be subconscious, most of us seniors are so on edge and extremely irritable. I blame change for these actions.

Senior year means no more relying on anyone else to do something for you. Change is coming and it’s coming fast. To add onto the fast pace, in my case, this change is drastic as well. Although again I may be in the minority by moving about seven hours away from home, distance is a major issue as well. 

Another stressor I feel that is causing this irritability is the question of what’s next in our lives? There is so much pressure to take the traditional route of a four year college and hop straight into a job, however, this path doesn’t fit everyone, and that’s okay.

The idea of following the perfect cookie-cutter layout in life can be extremely stressful for many students. Sadly in this day and age, students that do decide to take alternate routes are looked down upon by certain people. 

On the other hand, students may plan to go to college for sure, but have no idea what career path they want, which can be equally as stressful. There are surveys and questionnaires we have filled out since we were in middle school about career paths, but nothing can give us that answer except for experience. For many, the unknown is the scariest.

For me, all I know is this: there should not be nearly this much pressure on our upperclassmen. I think to combat this our counselors should really check in on each individual student and make a calendar of due dates and plans. Although I know our counselors are readily available at all times, I think a push on some students would make a drastic difference in the total mood of seniors during their last year of high school.