As a junior, there is an invisible veil that shrouds senior year in mystery. College applications and the like are completely foreign and somewhat frightening. Many students claim junior year is the most difficult year in high school, due to the opportunity to load up on Advanced Placement classes. What comes after junior year: a chance to be on top, or loads of stress and anxiety?
There are many doors that open for senior students. Daniel Cipriano, senior, has decided to take the road less traveled by in not applying to college.
“Everyone always asks where you’re going to college,” said Cipriano. “I’m going to take a couple years abroad instead of wasting money [in college] doing something I don’t want to do. [Not applying] definitely takes a lot of pressure off me and my parents.”
Kelton Sutton, senior, is applying for the Army Reserves. “I decided to go into the Reserves because I have a sister and a brother, and I want to do my part in keeping them safe.”
Sutton has also been accepted to Wake Technical College. “Applying online was really fast and easy,” said Sutton. “Then I had to take a placement test, which was actually pretty difficult.” Going to college is the most practical option for many students.
“I chose to apply to Wake Tech because that’s where all my friends are going,” said Bobby Collman, senior. “Senior year, so far, has been super lazy for me because of senioritis. I’m just goofing around because I already have all [the credits] I need to graduate.” It is not uncommon for students to take easier classes in order to “lighten the load” for senior year.
“I decided to take classes I liked and that were easy,” said Jenan Fatfat, senior. “It’s weird now because there’s no one to look up to. You also have to stress out about your future, and it sucks. I was so confused on how to apply for college and teacher recommendations and everything.”
Leesville does try to help prepare its students for college. By helping them to sign up for the College Foundation of North Carolina, they give seniors a little nudge down the path towards success. This website helps in college and career planning for those who don’t know where to start applying for universities.
College applications and applying for scholarships are some of the laborious tasks seniors must undergo. “[Applying to college] hit me like a ton of bricks because I didn’t realize it was going to take so long,” said Kaighn Kevlin, senior. “Write your college applications in the summer.”
Justin Palpant, a senior, agrees with this. “I was working on my essay until two days before the deadline,” said Palpant. “I was confused [about applying to college] at first because I’d never done it before. I got a lot of help from my family, and some from my teachers. The school provides you with senior conferences and counselor meetings to help you through the process.”
Palpant also discussed college essays. “It’s not like any essay you’ve ever written. It’s also really stressful because it’s probably one of the most important essays you’ll ever write.”
His advice for upcoming seniors? “As best as you can, try to keep the laziness from kicking in. It makes the process of applying for college while dealing with school very difficult.”
Though senior year can be a source of intense stress, it is also a year where teenagers begin to feel more liberated from their parents.
“My parents treat me like I’m more capable,” said Brooks Jordan, senior. “I told them to just let me fail if I’m doing something wrong so that I know I’m doing it and I can fix it. I’m really excited for college, but I’m trying to prepare myself too. Sometimes I visit my friends at their colleges, and I can get a personal view of what it’s like. I expected there would be a lot of stress this year, but there’s also a greater sense of community [between students].”
“I’m more socially active,” said Orlando Allen, senior, when asked about how the difference between junior and senior year. “It’s been really fun. Probably the best year of all my years.”
Senior year is definitely a year of liberation for students, and the time to choose a path to take for the future. Though there is much stress involved, it is the year that separates students from the rest of the school: finally you are the “senior class”.
“Work harder from the beginning,” said Allen when asked what advice he’d give to non-seniors. “There’s always room for improvement; push yourself to your fullest potential.”