As Junior year came to a close in June, 2014, about 410 Hills West Juniors breathed out a deep sigh of relief as they believed the apex of high school stress had come to a close. Senior year was about to set in; that meant easy classes, days off, and the relaxation that comes with deciding on a college. After all, standardized scores seemed to be settled, GPA’s were being officially calculated, and the hard work of their entire school careers had been completed. Come September, 2014, these new Seniors were proven to be extremely wrong.
The stress of Senior year has hit, pushing aside “Senioritous” and leaving it a distant hope. College applications are the focus of each Senior as they plan for their future education, and therefore, future in general. Applications are due, generally, January 15th. For those applying early decision or early action, the deadline is in November 1st, and as we fall deeper and deeper into October, tensions are rising higher and higher. For some, this tension may just manifest itself in poor sleep or daydreams, but others may not be so lucky.
Morgan Rampolla, a current Senior, states that “The stress of Senior year has taken a physical toll on me in many different forms like migraines, stomach aches, and teeth grinding.”
Of course, every grade has their own stressors, high school is difficult. However, as Stephen Imburgia puts in, “It’s not just a test or homework grade on the line, it’s your entire future.”
Getting into college isn’t just about impressing family members or proving your capabilities; it’s about building your life. And in order to do that, there are many things a Senior must do. Seniors have to take the SAT/ACT, most likely multiple times, and fill out the Common Application, and even other individual applications for schools that do not accept the Common App. It requires a list of all clubs and activities and a 650 word essay. Each student then has to pick out at least ten schools, including safety, target, and reach schools. After choosing schools, the student must write supplemental essays for each school that requires one. It is then necessary to get teacher recommendations and do some paper work. And in addition to doing all this, Seniors have to continue their everyday school work and maintain a good GPA. And then, perhaps the worse part of all, they must wait for college acceptances.
The pressure for succeeding isn’t only internal; many students also must deal with parental interference. In regard to the relationship between parents and college related stress, Emily Feigenbaum states “They are my stress.”
Tuition also plays a pivotal role in the college decision process for many students. Schools are excluded and included due to their price as tuitions continue to rise each year. Scholarships and Financial Aid are huge parts of the application process, which serves as a heavy subject for students who have not exactly entered adulthood.
The question must be asked: How do Seniors cope with the stress? A general trend among interviewed Seniors seems to point to time set aside for Netflix, as Maxine Fenner states, “Criminal Minds” serves as her main sedative through it all. Sam Spiesman states that “Elise Baer offers a yoga class after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, which is a great way for anyone to feel good and stress free.”
Whatever the coping mechanism, each student squints to see the silver lining. One day, not too far in the future, applications will be in and colleges will be chosen. It’s this thought that is keeping each Senior breathing through each stressful second of their application process.