Everyone tells us that senior year will be one of the most memorable years in our life, and sometimes, it lives up to this expectation.
Winning a tennis tournament, the homecoming football game, Halloween, pole vault sectionals– these are the unforgettable moments. But they are called moments for a reason.
What about all of the minutes, hours, and days in between?
We would not necessarily call a calculus or biology test memorable, but tests, quizzes, homework, and other responsibilities comprise most of our lives. Each time someone recalls their remarkable senior year experience, we cannot help but wonder where we are going wrong to make most of mine seem so average.
Senior guilt is something that has engulfed many students’ lives. It feels like pressure from teachers, parents, or even students themselves to “make the most” of senior year solely before the “deadline” of graduation day. Yet, with the stress of college applications, grades, leadership positions, and relationships, enjoying senior year has become yet another responsibility on this list.
But it does not have to be. The number of football games or parties you went to and the number of friends you have should not determine your self-image.
You do not have to feel guilty because you are not taking every extravagant, exhausting opportunity.
The phrase “high school is the best time of your life” puts an enormous amount of stress and existential dread on high school students. Some students may be having a difficult time in high school, and most of us are just figuring out who we are. After all, how can we shove something so complex and convoluted as a year into the confining rules of “good” or “bad”?
We are suffocating as we confine ourselves to the appearance of a memorable senior year, something that is largely out of our control in the face of a global pandemic, typical teenage drama, and the stress of deciding your future when we are still young.
Instead, we want to encourage students to find fulfillment from the small moments and what they truly want to do.
Although it can be beneficial to go out of your comfort zone and try new things, do not do it if you feel like you are overexerting yourself simply because it feels like you are running out of time in high school. You have the rest of your life to meet new people and experience unique things.
So we urge you,
go to the football game, but only if you want to;
stop hanging out with lackluster friends and eat lunch with those who truly make you happy; and
please, do not forget to pet your dog on the way out of the door.
The best years of your life can be any years of your life.