For all juniors reading this, you have been terribly lied to. At some point in our quest for the highest grades and maintaining a somewhat stable social life we have all thought about senior year. The mithos behind it are quite interesting, and I believed it once too. I mean, who hasn’t heard about senioritis or senior privilege? It has become something so profoundly rooted in our micro-society that no one actually stops to consider the veracity of these rumors. I’m sorry to break it to you. Most of them are lies. Well except for senioritis. The authenticity of that can’t be questioned.
We all expect that our first day as seniors will be of unprecedented importance. That when arriving to school we will feel a some sort of deep emotion: nostalgia, fulfillment, sadness, happiness, etc. The truth is that the only real feeling you get is the profound necessity to sleep. In all seriousness, who thinks that after not sleeping for an entire night – acting in questionable ways – it is possible to focus in class. Ask most teachers and they will probably say that the effects last for about a week before seniors can do anything closely resembling school work. The first day of school can be accurately described as five extremely short minutes of glory followed by around seven hours of what seems never-ending misery.
But what about the parties we were promised? What about the large social gatherings of wild fun accompanied by friends and acquaintances? Okay, they do happen rather often, but in reality attending these events present an important choice. The other side to the parties and craziness unleashed by the constant reminder that the next year there will not be school for you anymore is the college application process. I remember the first sessions with Ms. Aramayo every wednesday after school during the second semester of junior year. It is shocking how quickly students lose their innocence and realize that no one can prepare you for the application process. In some way Ms. Aramayo is like a magician. Every time she appears and says the magic words “if you guys keep going like this, you will not meet the deadline” it seems like all joy rapidly transforms into tears and stress followed by the ultimate realization that your dreams are probably never coming true. So while your friends go to Forum Saturday night, you will probably be staying up late for completely different reasons (hint: college essays).
Finally, most people say that senior year is easy because teachers give you significantly less work than in previous years. The truth is that workload doesn’t change, just the will to do the work does. Oh the beautiful senioritis! It’s always there, since we are children. The thing that stops it from coming out is the fear of not entering the colleges we want, but as seniors this fear turns into reality rather quickly, and by the time november or december comes we are no longer frightened by the possibility of not entering college. We embrace our inevitable fate. Suddenly that AP Lit summative paper goes from a priority the night before the deadline to a priority at the end of the quarter just to avoid failing the class.
And oh yeah, I almost forgot. Seniors during first periods of the second semester are like unicorn sightings. As a student who took AP Spanish Lit in eleventh grade I’ve been witness to the emptiness of a Tuesday morning classroom.
All in all senior year is a trip. From the unavoidable mental breakdowns near the dates of college application deadlines, the brief moments of actual excitement for learning, the unexpected relationships with others that you learn to appreciate in face of their imminent change, to the moment your friend fails his driving test for the third time, senior year is so much more than a period of growth or understanding. Senior year is a time to come to the realization that life is filled with moments of unbridled joy and simultaneously boring monotony. We are just trying to understand how all this is possible.