Seniors: the next chapter

Seniors reflect on biggest life lessons and fears for the future as graduation approaches


Final Farewell: In May of last year, juniors celebrate their transition into senior year during Junior Takeover. Delainey Crane (12) said, “I have had to make a lot of big choices since the Junior Takeover. My skills of making difficult choices have increased. I have also learned how to work better when under stress.” Photo contributed by: Delainey Crane

Sage Spirk, Reporter

As graduation approaches, many seniors earnestly await the moment they can finally walk up on stage and receive their diploma in front of family and friends, sealing this chapter of their life shut and opening up new doors of opportunity. Now, they share their feelings moving forward.

“I am nervous about living on my own and some of my classes in college,” Sasha Gurevich (12) said. “However, I am really excited about living in a new place, meeting new people, and studying marketing and fashion merchandising and retail studies. Marketing is my major and fashion merchandising and retail studies is my minor.”

With lots to look forward to, Gurevich has plans for her upcoming college career. But with this excitement also comes fears.

“As I transition into adulthood, I am afraid of not finding out more about myself so I can improve myself and my habits,” Gurevich said. “Also, I am afraid that I will struggle to manage my money in my bank account.”

Besides finances, many seniors share the sentiment of not completely knowing what they want to do with their life in the long run. Alex Carlton (12) shares a similar fear over navigating a career that best suits him. 

“My biggest fear right now is finding a career that I love, but I also realize that this is what college is for,” Carlton said. “I don’t need to be totally sure about my future, and I will hopefully find my passion and create a satisfying life out of it. I’m also a little unsure about having a roommate in college, but this is something that everyone does and I will learn to adjust.”

A study conducted in 2008 titled “Survival Secrets of College Students” by the Journal of College Admission shows that these fears are not out of the ordinary. The study surveys 175 college students throughout the United States over what they initially feared going into college, and some of the common themes were anxieties over money, roommates and leaving behind family. 

“I am eager to start a new chapter in my life, meet new people, and experience new and exhilarating things but, at the same time, I am nervous about leaving my family and friends behind,” Amelia Stroud (12) said. “Even so, I believe this kind of nervous excitement is a positive feeling and I’m looking forward to college overall.”

Learning to adapt to the unexpected is not something that comes easily to everyone, though it can prove to be a useful skill. High school is about more than academics, as it also serves to teach students important life lessons they can carry with them into the future. 

“The biggest life lesson would be that hard work always prevails over cheating,” Gurevich said. “Taking the easy way out is not a good thing. Working hard for something will ensure more positive results and you will learn more from working hard on an assignment, studying for a test, or trying to achieve a goal.”

While having the self discipline to work hard can be applied to college as well, it is also important to have a sense of balance. 

“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in high school is probably to listen to your body and your emotions, and to never push yourself too hard,” Carlton said. “Teachers and parents will always expect a lot out of us, and it’s good to work hard, but learning how to manage your time, take breaks, and deal with stress and anxiety is very important.”

Outside of homework and tests, high school is also an opportunity to learn how to better yourself as an individual. 

“High school has taught me several things: the importance of hard work, good friendships, and I have learned some of my strengths and weaknesses, which I will continue to improve upon in the future,” Gurevich said. “Another personal life lesson I have learned is what it means to be a good friend and how to recognize if a friendship is good. Some examples of good friends are people who are excited for you if something good happens, someone who wants to help you if you are upset, and someone who genuinely wants to get to know you.”

Learning who you are as a person can also help shape your goals for the future and help you prioritize what interests you, making the most out of your time. 

I hope to keep in touch with friends I have made during my childhood and during high school, while making new college friends through groups like band or people with similar interests,” Carlton said. “I hope to keep up with my language and music skills as well, possibly performing and studying abroad while in college.”

The 2008 study also points out that while being anxious for the unknown is normal, it’s alway good to reach out to a guidance counselor for help so that your life isn’t consumed by these worries.

“Guidance counselors can be effective throughout the year in short conversations with individuals, small groups of students or parent meetings anytime during senior year,” Authors Mary Kay Shanley and Julia Johnston said.

Guidance counselors can certainly help you manage your fears, but Stroud reminds us that these fears are not the end of the world.

“Most things that happen in high school do not matter and getting anxious about things that won’t matter in the future is pointless,” Stroud said. “Time should be spent doing things that make you happy or that help you accomplish your goals. Spending time worrying about useless things like what grade you got on a quiz or what one person thinks about you is a waste of time.”

Despite the daunting nature of college and independence, it’s important to remember that most seniors are facing similar life challenges and learning to navigate this new stage of life. What’s important is to cherish these experiences and lessons from high school and carry them into the future, wherever that may lead.