Starting at the moment you reach the upper school, it hits you. Each year that sensation multiplies until it slowly dictates your life. We all deal with stress in different ways. Some choose to wallow in it doing nothing about it. Others drown themselves in work hoping to somehow lighten that burden.
Most people assume that junior year is probably the hardest year of your high school career. That said, I believe that the most challenging time of all is the summer before senior year.
The school year has just begun but I already feel swamped. A summer junior questionnaire remains partially completed – one that I promised to send my dean a couple of weeks ago-, my SAT tutor has me doing multiple sections a night before my Oct. 5 testing date, and my college counselor awaits another draft of my essay for the Common App.
There aren’t any classes yet, no homework to complete, no tests to study for, yet I already feel like I’m drowning.
I started working on my common app the day it came out, I was working on my essay since early July and I began to study again for the SAT almost immediately after school ended. So the question remains, why am I feeling so unprepared?
What I seem to have forgotten to include in my work ethic equation is one simple factor: summer. While we feel it may be everlasting, where each day feels longer than the 24 hours it possesses, it is in reality fleeting. It was just yesterday I was starting my internship in early July, and here I am now speeding towards my first day of senior year.
From the beginning of seventh grade I remember being told by every teacher that time management will make or break you. It all felt so much simpler when summer was mostly exempt from such worries.
Now, when having to factor in the stigma attached to becoming a senior, this juggling act becomes even more challenging. We all want our last year of high school to have meaning. We want to spend time with our friends, solidifying those friendships because more likely than not we will no longer live 20 minutes away from each other.
In this last year of transition we are pushed towards adulthood and the need to make the decisions that will benefit us the most. Sometimes that means seeing your friends, but in other instances it may be choosing school work and college applications.
A true mark of maturity is the ability to weigh your options and see which is the more important. The right choice isn’t always the exciting one, and quite often we might feel like we’re missing out.
Learning how to make the best decisions can help us manage our stress and cut down on some sleepless nights that we all know are coming. There are always going to be tough choices that we have to make.
The earlier we learn how to readily accept them and come out on top, the easier future experiences will be once we’re on our own.