A senior’s guide to surviving senior year


Moments that matter: Recording his sports talk show, Marquardt sits in South’s radio studio hours after school. For Marquardt, South’s radio program has been an outlet for him to enjoy all that the school had to offer for him as a student. Photo courtesy of Tommy Marquardt

Tommy Marquardt, sports editor

Dear juniors, sophomores and freshmen,

The Class of 2021 has been forced into many regrets that were not our fault. Covid-19 pushed back our sports seasons, canceled our field trips and completely destabilized many study habits that had been carefully honed throughout the better part of three years. Luckily for the rest of you, there (knock on wood) isn’t a pandemic enacting cancel culture on all events normally considered commonplace for a senior year of high school.

So here it is: your guide to making the most of your senior year.

I can tell you for certain that much of your senior year will be spent dodging a deluge of questions from well-meaning adults about where you’re going to school, when graduation is and what your plans are for your career. During that time, you will worry about which colleges will accept you. You’ll make it through and end up in the right place. The universe has a way of working out like that. However, though the future is important, don’t let it define your last year of high school. My biggest regret during my senior year is that I spent too much time focusing on the “next” and not enough experiencing the “now.”

Too many times I’ve been told to “enjoy” my high school years. To the juniors, sophomores and freshmen who have wandered their way into the senior section, I’d instead implore you to LIVE for the rest of high school. Don’t abandon your studying, but also don’t sacrifice your friendships for the purposes of a college. Instead of spending 90 minutes watching a clock for four blocks every day, find a way to enjoy the classes you’re stuck in, whether that be through engrossing yourself in a new subject or by finding a friend in your class that you’d previously never talked to.

So, instead of leaving a football game at halftime, stick it out with your friends until the end. You’d be surprised at the fun you’ll have. Go to a meeting for an extracurricular that has always intrigued you. And, more than anything else, enjoy the fact that your time in high school was spent in the presence of other people rather than over Zoom.

Enjoy all of what GBS has to offer right to the very end because this year’s senior class wasn’t able to do that. Seriously, my senior year homecoming was a masked-up spring football game with no dance. Don’t take for granted the experiences you’ll be provided with for the rest of high school.

There is no blueprint for the perfect senior year because no such perfect year exists. The best you can do is enjoy the rest of your time with the other kids you grew up with before you all mutually part ways and scatter yourselves across the world.

The looming presence of the future is that of both beautiful possibilities and crippling doubts. You’ll second-guess your decisions, and sometimes even third-guess. You’ll find a comfort song that makes you feel hopeful even when you feel like the house of cards of the college application process is about to fall apart. You’ll trust your gut, and make the best decision for you.

In the end, the most important advice I’d give you is to avoid focusing too much on moving to the next accomplishment on the long to-do list of high school. Instead, try to stay present, and live out that last year instead of letting it speed past you. It goes a lot quicker than you think. After all, you’re here for four years, whether you like it or not. You might as well do the best you can.

Good luck. You’ll kill it.